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Child Sexual Abuse Statistics

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Over the last few years, many high profile instances of child sexual abuse have come to light. The allegations have come against many people and organizations, including:

  • Members of the clergy and religious organizations
  • The Boy Scouts of America mentors
  • USA Gymnastics trainers and coaches

However, it is important to know that the problem is much more widespread than the stories that make the news. Child sexual abuse happens every day and in many communities. In many cases, the abusers are known to the victims – they are friends and family.

Today, we want to bring you some statistics. We want to arm you with the tools you need to keep your kids safe, and we want you to know where to turn if you suspect your child has been abused.

The Scope of the Problem

Every nine minutes in this country, child protective services finds evidence that child sexual abuse has occurred. Did you know that nearly one out of every ten children will be sexually abused before they reach their 18th birthday?

  • One out of every five girls and one in every 20 boys is a victim of sexual abuse.
  • In 2016 alone, child protective services found strong evidence to indicate that 57,329 children were victims of sexual abuse.

Those numbers are likely lower than the actual number of instances. In many cases, victims of child sexual abuse never report what has happened to them. In some cases, they may not even realize they have been abused in the first place.

According to RAINN, 93% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are known to their victims. Sexual assault is rarely perpetrated by strangers.

  • 59% of perpetrators are acquaintances, such as coaches, mentors, family friends, teachers, clergy members, etc.
  • 34% of perpetrators are family members of the victim.

What does Sexual Abuse Look Like?

Many people think that sexual abuse of children only includes penetration of the vagina or anus. However, that is only one aspect of sexual abuse. It can also include:

  • Forced oral sex
  • Mutual masturbation
  • Fondling
  • Exposing a child to pornography
  • A child being forced to watch an adult masturbate
  • Any other sexual activity between a child and an adult
  • Sexual communication between a child and an adult through the Internet or other electronic means

It needs to be stated that children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults, even if they willingly go along with the activity or initiate sexual contact. Adults have the responsibility to stop any and all sexual activity that arises with a child.

Children who have been victims of sexual abuse are more likely to have long-lasting mental health impacts:

  • They are four times as likely to experience PTSD as adults.
  • They are four times as likely to develop symptoms of drug abuse.
  • They are three times as likely to experience major depression as adults.

A person who experienced rape or attempted rape when they were adolescents is 13.7 times more likely to experience rape or attempted rape when they are in their first year of college.

If you suspect abuse

If you suspect that your child has been sexually abused, you need to contact the police immediately and remove your child from an abusive situation. Seek help from a counselor who is specially trained to help victims of child sexual abuse and consider scheduling a consultation with an injury lawyer to explore what damages may be recoverable.