CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS Child sexual abuse is also a significantly under-reported crime that is difficult to prove and prosecute. Most perpetrators of child molestation, incest and child rape are never identified and caught

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE STATISTICS

  • In the United States, approximately 1 out of every 4 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys is sexually abused before the age 18.
  • Seventy to 73% of child sexual abusers report experiencing sexual abuse in their own childhood.
  • Approximately 60% of sexual abusers are known to the child but are not family members, such as family friends, babysitters, or neighbors.
  • Approximately 30% of sexual abusers are family members, such as fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles, or cousins.
  • It is estimated that only 30% of all sexual assaults on children are reported to the police.
  • According to the APA, women are the abusers in about 14% of cases reported among boys and 6% of cases reported among girls. g
  • The World Health Organization reports that 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual violence globally in 2002. p
  • While the murder rate for minors is twice as high in low-income countries than in higher income countries, sexual abuse in the home is found in all countries. In many industrialized countries, as many as 36% of women and 20% of men said they have been the victim of sexual abuse as children, mostly within the family circle. p
  • According to WHO, 1.8 million children are involved in pornography and prostitution. Over 1.2 million children have been trafficked. p
  • Males, especially children, are less likely to disclose abuse than females; girls are more likely to disclose sexual abuse than boys. o
  • The generally lower rate for male sex abuse may be largely inaccurate due to underreporting. Because men are traditionally encouraged to be physically strong and competitive, male victims may be more hesitant to report sexual abuse because they feel they are “less of a man.” h
  • Child sex abuse includes body contact, such as kissing and oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Sex abuse can also include “flashing” or showing private parts, forcing children to watch pornography, voyeurism (trying to look at a child’s naked body), pressuring children for sex, having sex in front of children, and exploiting children for pornography or prostitution. q
  • “Child-on-child sexual abuse” occurs when a prepubescent child is abused sexually by another child or children. Often, the child perpetrator has been sexually victimized by an adult previously. “Inter-sibling abuse” occurs when one sibling molests his/her own sibling. g
  • Disabled children are at higher risk for sexual abuse than non-disabled children. Researchers note that some disabled children may not be able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate touching of their body, which leaves them particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse. e
  • Child abusers often do not use physical force but instead “groom” or use manipulative tactics, such as buying gifts, arranging special activities, exposing children to pornography, and roughhousing to keep a child engaged with and often confused about the abuser’s motives. g
  • Researchers report that the vast majority of sexually abused children do not grow up to be offenders and that the “cycle of sexual abuse” does not fully explain why a person would molest children. g
  • Only a fraction of abusers are caught and convicted for their crimes. Most of those who are caught are eventually released back to the community, albeit under probation or parole supervision. e
  • Children who are victims of sexual abuse can suffer many serious health effects, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, somatization, neurosis, chronic pain, sexualized behavior, learning problems, animal cruelty, self-destructive behavior, suicide, antisocial behavior, sleeping difficulties and/or nightmares, angry outbursts, not wanting to be left alone, and further victimization into adulthood. However, not all victims show behavioral changes. c
  • Africa has the highest prevalence of child sexual abuse (34.4%). Europe has the lowest rate of abuse (9.2%). America and Asia have rates between 10.1% and 23.9%. h
  • Sexual abuse, or any kind of abuse, negatively and many times permanently affects the physical development of a child’s brain. These physical changes result in psychological and emotional problems in adulthood. q
  • Women who were sexually abused as children reported significantly lower SAT test scores than women who were not abused. g
  • Children may not reveal sexual abuse because they feel shame or guilt, they worry no one will believe them, they fear being removed from their home, and they or their family may have been threatened. Very young children may not have the language skills to report the abuse or may not understand they are being abused. g
  • Approximately 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18. e
  • According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, 63,527 children were sexually abused in the U.S. in 2010, a drop from 150,000 in 1992. While some researchers were surprised that the recession did not cause more cases of sexual abuse, others note that the drop may reflect methodological changes of counting reports as well as lower levels of abuse. g
  • Most children do not tell anyone they have been abused, and those who do tell often have to tell several people before any action is taken. q
  • Not all pedophiles are child molesters, and some child molesters do not meet the clinical definition of pedophile. Pedophilia is a clinical term that describes a person who has had repeated arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors related to sexual activities with children for at least six months. Pedophiles do not necessarily have to act on their urges. Child molesters have the same attraction to children, but they act on their urges. g
  • Child pornography is one of the fastest growing Internet businesses, increasing at an average 150% per year for each of the last 10 years. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reports that it has reviewed more than 51 million child pornography images and videos. o
  • There is a clear link between possession of child pornography and the actual violation of children. The NCMEC estimates that 40% or more of people who possess child pornography also sexually assault children. o
  • Of the arrests for the possession of child pornography during 2000-2001 in the U.S., 83% had pornographic materials of children between ages 6 and 12, 39% had material involving children between ages 3 and 5, and 19% had material of toddlers under the age of 3 or infants. g
  • Approximately 1.3 million children in America are sexually assaulted each year. There are an estimated 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America. e
  • Researchers estimate that 20 million Americans have been victims of parental incest as children. e
  • A 2004 study revealed that 9.6% of public school children, accounting for 4.5 million students, have experienced sexual misconduct, from being told sexual jokes to sexual intercourse by educators. Offenders include teachers (18%), coaches (15%), substitute teachers (13%), principals (6%), and student counselors (5%). g
  • Researchers stress that it is crucial to respond in a supportive manner if a child discloses abuse. Children who disclose abuse and receive a negative reaction or no reaction at all suffer more from general trauma symptoms, dissociation, and PTSD than those who had supportive responses. e
  • Ninety-five percent of molested children know their molesters. k
  • Most child sex abuse offenders are 10 or more years older than the victim. More than half of child molesters are under the age of 35. e
  • Between 250,000-500,000 child molesters reside in the U.S. today. n
  • Pedophiles are often likable, friendly, engaging, and frequent events that children attend Male offenders who abused girls have an average of 52 victims each. Men who molested boys had an average of 150 victims each. e
  • Child molesters come from all backgrounds and social classes. However, most molesters (1) are male, (2) work in an environment surrounded by children, (3) befriend the parents first and then gain the child’s trust, and (4) attend events such as sports, camping, and video arcades. e
  • U.S. researchers have found that women who were sexually abused as girls repeatedly have a 62% percent higher risk of heart problems later in life compared with other women who were not abused. Much of the risk was related to coping strategies, such as alcohol abuse, overeating, and drug abuse. c
  • According to the FBI, approximately 1 in 10 men have molested a child, with little chance of being caught (3%). Additionally, the FBI estimates that a child has almost a 25% chance of being molested. n
  • The FBI estimates that there is a sex offender living in every square mile in the United States. n
  • According to Dr. Herbert Wagemaker, an estimated 4% of the population suffers from sexual attraction toward children. g
  • The re-arrest rate for convicted child molesters is 52%. g
  • Prison inmates are more likely to assault fellow prisoners who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Many inmates refer to molesters as “dirty” prisoners and that assaulting or killing them is doing a service to society. In the prison hierarchy, snitches and molesters are usually the most hated. m
  • Most sexual assaults are committed by the same race as the victim. An exception to this is Native Americans. Those who commit a sexual crime against Native Americans are usually not Native American. k
  • There is just a small subset of child sexual abusers who are exclusively attracted to just children. A majority of people who abuse children are or have been attracted to adults as well. k
  • Classic signs of sexual abuse include odd injuries, ripped clothes or underwear, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, hyper-sexuality, withdrawal, exceptional fear of a person or certain places, unreasonable fear of a physical exam, drawings that are scary or that use a lot of black and red, and attempts to get other children to perform sexual acts. q
  • It is crucial to be nonjudgmental if a child discloses sexual abuse If a child reveals that he or she has been sexually abused, it is crucial that adults listen non-judgmentally to the child and report it immediately. If the abuse is within the family, report it to the local Child Protection Agency. If the abuse is outside the family, report it to the police or district attorney’s office. Parents should also consult a pediatrician and a child/adolescent psychiatrist. It is important the child understands that the abuse is not his or her fault. A child should never be blamed for the abuse. q
  • Parents can help prevent sexual abuse by educating themselves and their children about what sexual abuse is and by staying alert to the classic signs of sexual abuse. Parents also need to teach their children about the privacy of body parts, listen to their children, and be aware of where and with whom their children are spending their time. q

 

References

a “Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics.” U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

b “Child Molester Undergoes Castration for Parole.” MSNBC. March 4, 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

c “Child Sexual Abuse.” MedlinePlus. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

d “Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet.” NCTSN. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

e Doak, Melissa J. 2011. Child Abuse and Domestic Violence. New York, NY: Gale Cengage Learning.

f “Female Genital Mutilation.” World Health Organization. February 2010. Accessed: December 30, 2011.

g Floric, MaryLee and Matthew Broyles. 2012. Sexual Abuse. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

h “Global Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse.” Journalist’s Resource. November 15, 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

i Gohir, Shaista. “The Hypocrisy of Child Abuse in Many Muslim Countries.” The Guardian. April 24, 2010. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

j Lal, Neeta. “Hidden Darkness: Child Sexual Abuse in India.” Asia Sentinel. May 2, 2007. Accessed: December 30, 2011.

k “Megan’s Law: Facts about Sex Offenders.” Office of the Attorney General. 2001. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

l “New U.S. Data Shows Continuing Drop in Child Abuse.” USA Today. December 13, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.

m Palmer, Brian. “Are Child Molesters Really the Most Hated People in Prison?” Slate. November 15, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.

n “Protect Children from Sexual Predators in Your Area.” National Alert Registry. 2011. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

o Smith, Lamar. Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith Full Committee Markup of H.R. 1981, “Protecting Children from Internet Pornography.” Committee on the Judiciary. July 27, 2011. Accessed: December 30, 2011.

p Usborne, David. “UN Report Uncovers Global Child Abuse.” The Independent. October 12, 2006. Accessed: December 28, 2011.

q Vieth, Victor I, Bette L. Bottoms, and Alison Perona. 2006. Ending Child Abuse: New Efforts in Prevention, Investigation, and Training. New York, NY: The Haworth Maltreatment & Trauma Press.

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