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Abuse Statistics, An overview
Here are statistics surrounding the issue of child sexual
abuse. In presenting the statistics, the data are organized
by Prevalence and Consequences.
is the percentage of the population that is
affected by child sexual abuse; the general existence of
child sexual abuse.
is the impact that child sexual abuse has on a
victim/survivor and on our society over time.
Sexual abuse touches every life when it leads to losses of
trust, decreases in self esteem, and development of shame,
guilt and depression.
Sexual abuse touches every life when it leads to eating
disorders, substance abuse, suicide,
promiscuity/prostitution, and other psycho-behavioral
1 in 4 girls is sexually abused
before the age of 18. (96)
1 in 6 boys is sexually abused
before the age of 18. (96)
1 in 5 children are solicited
sexually while on the internet. (30, 87)
Nearly 70% of all reported
sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to
children ages 17 and under. (76)
An estimated 39 million
survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.
Especially within the walls of
their own homes, children are at risk for sexual abuse
30-40% of victims are
abused by a family member. (2, 44, 76)
Another 50% are abused by
someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
Approximately 40% are abused by
older or larger children whom they know. (1, 44)
10% are abused by strangers.
That's right, only 10%.
Sexual abuse can occur at all
ages, probably younger than you think
The median age for reported
abuse is 9 years old. (64)
More than 20% of children are
sexually abused before the age of 8. (76)
Nearly 50% of all victims of
forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible
fondling are children under 12. (74, 76)
Most children don't tell even if
they have been asked
Evidence that a child has been sexually abused is not always
obvious, and many children do not report that they have been
Over 30% of victims never
disclose the experience to ANYONE.
Young victims may not recognize
their victimization as sexual abuse.
Almost 80% initially deny abuse
or are tentative in disclosing.
Of those who do disclose,
approximately 75% disclose accidentally.
Additionally, of those who do
disclose, more than 20% eventually recant even though the
Fabricated sexual abuse reports
constitute only 1% to 4% of all reported cases.
Of these reports, 75% are
falsely reported by adults and 25% are reported by children.
Children only fabricate ½% of
Consequences of child sexual
abuse begin affecting children and families immediately.
They also affect society in innumerable and negative ways.
These effects can continue throughout the life of the
survivor so the impact on society for just one survivor
continues over multiple decades.
Health and/or Behavioral Problems:
The way a victim's family responds to abuse plays an
important role in how the incident affects the victim.
Sexually abused children who keep it a
or who "tell" and are not believed are at
greater risk than the general population for psychological,
emotional, social, and physical problems often lasting into
Children who have been victims of sexual abuse are more
likely to experience physical health problems (e.g.,
Victims of child sexual abuse report more symptoms of PTSD,
more sadness, and more school problems than non-victims.
(10, 16, 55, 72)
Victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to experience
major depressive disorder as adults. (55, 72)
girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop
eating disorders as adolescents. (16, 40, 89)
Adolescent victims of violent crime have difficulty in the
transition to adulthood, are more likely to suffer financial
failure and physical injury, and are at risk to fail in
other areas due to problem behaviors and outcomes of the
Drug and/or Alcohol Problems:
Victims of child sexual abuse
report more substance abuse problems.
70-80% of sexual abuse survivors
report excessive drug and alcohol use. (10, 16, 89)
Young girls who are sexually
abused are 3 times more likely to develop psychiatric
disorders or alcohol and drug abuse in adulthood, than girls
who are not sexually abused. (16, 40, 89)
Among male survivors, more than
70% seek psychological treatment for issues such as
substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and attempted suicide.
Males who have been sexually abused are more likely to
violently victimize others. (90)
Teenage Pregnancy and Promiscuity:
Children who have been victims
of sexual abuse exhibit long-term and more frequent
behavioral problems, particularly inappropriate sexual
Women who report childhood rape
are 3 times more likely to become pregnant before age 18.
An estimated 60% of teen first
pregnancies are preceded by experiences of molestation,
rape, or attempted rape.
The average age of their
offenders is 27 years.
Victims of child sexual abuse
are more likely to be sexually promiscuous. (39, 59, 60, 70)
More than 75% of teenage
prostitutes have been sexually abused.
Adolescents who suffer violent
victimization are at risk for being victims or perpetrators
of felony assault, domestic violence, and property offense
Nearly 50% of women in prison
state that they were abused as children.
Over 75% of serial rapists
report they were sexually abused as youngsters.
Most perpetrators don't molest
only one child if they are not reported and stopped.
Nearly 70% of child sex offenders have between 1 and 9
victims; at least 20% have 10 to 40 victims. (23)
An average serial child molester
may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime. Some have
Reference material and key
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