Defend The Children.Org NEW

Government Stats on sexual abuse

 
 
 
From the American Academy of  Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
 
Child Sexual Abuse

No. 9; Updated July 2004

Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal procedure for validating an episode is difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.

Child sexual abuse can take place within the family, by a parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative; or outside the home, for example, by a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher, or stranger. When sexual abuse has occurred, a child can develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

No child is psychologically prepared to cope with repeated sexual stimulation. Even a two or three year old, who cannot know the sexual activity is wrong, will develop problems resulting from the inability to cope with the overstimulation.

The child of five or older who knows and cares for the abuser becomes trapped between affection or loyalty for the person, and the sense that the sexual activities are terribly wrong. If the child tries to break away from the sexual relationship, the abuser may threaten the child with violence or loss of love. When sexual abuse occurs within the family, the child may fear the anger, jealousy or shame of other family members, or be afraid the family will break up if the secret is told.

A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and an abnormal or distorted view of sex. The child may become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can become suicidal.

Some children who have been sexually abused have difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms. Some sexually abused children become child abusers or prostitutes, or have other serious problems when they reach adulthood.

Often there are no obvious physical signs of child sexual abuse. Some signs can only be detected on physical exam by a physician.

Sexually abused children may develop the following:

  • unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
  • sleep problems or nightmares
  • depression or withdrawal from friends or family
  • seductiveness
  • statements that their bodies are dirty or damaged, or fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area
  • refusal to go to school
  • delinquency/conduct problems
  • secretiveness
  • aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games, fantasies
  • unusual aggressiveness, or
  • suicidal behavior

Child sexual abusers can make the child extremely fearful of telling, and only when a special effort has helped the child to feel safe, can the child talk freely. If a child says that he or she has been molested, parents should try to remain calm and reassure the child that what happened was not their fault. Parents should seek a medical examination and psychiatric consultation.

Parents can prevent or lessen the chance of sexual abuse by:

  • Telling children that if someone tries to touch your body and do things that make you feel funny, say NO to that person and tell me right away
  • Teaching children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and to authority, for example, don't tell children to, Always do everything the teacher or baby-sitter tells you to do
  • Encouraging professional prevention programs in the local school system

Sexually abused children and their families need immediate professional evaluation and treatment. Child and adolescent psychiatrists can help abused children regain a sense of self-esteem, cope with feelings of guilt about the abuse, and begin the process of overcoming the trauma. Such treatment can help reduce the risk that the child will develop serious problems as an adult.

 

A FACT SHEET ABOUT

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Child sexual abuse is the sexual exploitation of a child by an adult,

adolescent, or older child. The sexual activity does not necessarily involve force;

children are often bribed or verbally coerced into sexual acts. The difference in

age and sexual knowledge between a child and an older person makes informed

consent to sexual activity impossible.

(Sexual Assault Facts and Statistics; Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault)

People known to the victim were offenders in 93% of sexual assaults of juveniles

reported to the police from 1991 to 1996. A person known to the victim

was the perpetrator in 97% of cases where the victim was under age six, 95% of

cases where the victim was age 6 to 11 and in 90% of cases where the victim

was age 12 to 17.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law

Enforcement,” 2000)

Information collected from the states through the National Child Abuse and

Neglect Data System reveals that the 1999 sexual abuse rate was 1.6 for every

1,000 female children and 0.4 for every 1000 male children.

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Child Maltreatment,” 1999)

A compilation of 1991-1996 National Incidence Based Reporting System master

files from twelve states shows that 67% of victims of sexual assault reported to

law enforcement were under age 18 and 34% were under 12. One in seven victims

was under age 6.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law

Enforcement,” 2000, p. 2)

The estimated number of sexually abused children in the United States rose

from 119,200 in 1986 to 217,700 in 1993. This estimate is based on a nationally

representative sample of 5,600 professionals and 842 agencies. Results of this

study also suggest that girls’ disproportionately greater risk for sexual abuse has

been stable over time.

(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Third National Incidence Study of Child

Abuse and Neglect,” 1996)

In cases reported to the police from 1991 to 1996, 34% of child sexual assault offenders were family members of the victim. The offender was a family member in 49% of the cases where the victim was under age 6, 42% of cases where the victim was age 6 to 11 and 24% of cases where the victim was age 12 to 17.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law

Enforcement,” 2000, p. 10)

 

A review of 166 studies between 1985 and 1997 found that, compared to males who were never abused,sexually abused males were four times more likely to suffer from major depression, three times more likely to be bulimic, and at least two times more likely to have antisocial personality disorder, behavioral problems,low self image, or runaway behavior. In addition, sexually abused males were one and a half to fourteen times more likely to attempt suicide.

(Holmes, William C., “Sexual Abuse of Boys: Definition, Prevalence, Correlates, Sequelae, and Management,” Journal of the

American Medical Association, 1998, No. 21, p 1858)

From 1991 to 1996, the relative proportion of female victims increased with age in cases of sexual assaults reported to the police. Sixty-nine percent of victims under 6 were female, while 73% of victims under 12 were female and 82% of victims under 18 were female.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,” 2000, p. 4)

In 1997, incidents of child abuse committed by parents and other caretakers made up about one-fifth (19%) of violent crimes against juveniles reported to the police and 4% of crimes against persons of any age, according to aggregate National Incidence Based Reporting System data from 12 states. Twenty-three percent of these parent and other caretaker crimes were cases of sexual abuse.

(U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “Child Abuse Reported to the Police,” 2001, p. 2)

According to law enforcement data, between 1991 and 1996 40% of offenders who sexually assaulted children under age 6 were juveniles.

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,” 2000, p. 8)

Male offenders were responsible for three-quarters of the 1997 child abuse incidents reported to the police,including 92% of sexual assaults of children.

(U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “Child Abuse Reported to the Police,” 2001, p. 2)

There were arrests in 29% of child sexual assault cases reported to the police from 1991 to 1996. (There were arrests in 22% of adult sexual assault cases reported to the police).

(Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,” 2000, p. 11)

Parents and other caretakers committed 26% of the sexual assaults on juveniles reported to the police in1997.

(U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “Child Abuse Reported to the Police,” 2001, p. 3)

The 14 member programs of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence assist survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, and members of their families, with 24-hour crisis lines, emergency shelter, counseling, support groups and help dealing with police, medical, and court personnel. The crisiscenters also provide speakers and educational programs to community groups.

In 2003, Coalition member agencies assisted 1,325 sexual assault survivors.

Updated 11/2003

Printing financed with funds provided in part or in whole by the State of NH

and/or United States Department of Health & Human Services

Sign my Guestbook

Please email admin@defendthechildren if you wish to join or to correspond with us.  Also if you would like to give suggestions or ask questions please email us.  Thank you

coa.jpg

This site  The Web 

The information on this site is not to be copied,  transferred or changed in any way without express permission of the owners/managers. Please feel free to link to us.

Much information is copywrited and while we have been granted permission to use it on this site, we do not have permission to transfer that permission to others.

We are grateful and thankful to those allowing us to use their information and strongly recommend that one checks out their websites and our links.  By all of us working together, we can help the children.