Saturday, April 16, 2016

Child Sex Abuse Fact Sheet

Child Sex Abuse:
  • A therapeutic definition of child sexual abuse means that child sexual abuse is a sexual activity, be it touch, photography, conversation, etc between a child (generally 15 or younger) and an adult or older youth that results in harm to the child. 
  • Situations can be abusive without being illegal, and situations can be illegal without being abusive. The most important tool is the victim's statement. 
  • A sexual act can be touch OR non-touch.
  • Abuse typically happens in one-on-one situations
  • Abuse typically happens in a residence, not an organization

The Victims:

  • CDC (Centers for Disease Control) estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time they turn 18 in the United States
  • Abuse/neglect victims cost the country around $210,012 during their lifetimes, according to a 2012 CDC report. Cost includes therapy, productivity losses, criminal justice system, welfare, as well as education. 
  • Any time there is an accusation of inappropriate contact, every attention must go to making sure the child tells the story. Never fill in details about what happened with whom, and let the victim share their story, in their words. Never presume to know they have been harmed, let them describe how they feel in their words. You can make abuse worse by not allowing them space to talk.

The Abusers:
  • Most sex abusers in the United States that have been charged in court are on a sex offender registry. As of last year, 270 people per 100,000 people are registered sex offenders, 66% of which involves child sexual exploitation.
  • 5% of new sex crimes are committed by those with a previous criminal record. 
  • Sex offenders have an average sexual recidivism rate of 13%. This rate is lower among child molesters, and higher among rapists and exhibitionists (flashers). In other words, most abusers do not go on to abuse other children.
  • 95% of sex abusers are known and trusted by their victim, meaning that most abusers are in trusted positions of power in relation to the victim. 
  • About a third of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by juveniles. 
  • Only about a third of sexual abusers have a pedophilia diagnosis (James Cantor).
  • The majority of pedophiles (those attracted to young children) do not sexually abuse children.

  • Finding a child advocacy center in your area can assist you in finding resources in your geographical location for getting resources such as therapy, forensic interviews, general knowledge, and can point you to other resources that they do not specialize in. Simply Googling "child advocacy center near [location]" will bring up your local options.
  • The side of this page has resources when viewed in desktop mode. Untested on mobile platforms. All links on the side of the page are external.

Preventative Methods:
  • Prevention can be primary (before the act), secondary (during the act), or tertiary (after the act)
  • Most government-backed prevention methods in the United States and abroad focuses on tertiary prevention by punishing, monitoring, or imprisoning abusers.
  • Most educational prevention methods rely on teaching children safe boundaries, how to say no, how to get away, who to tell, and generally focus on teaching children to inform an adult if abuse is happening. They do not typically involve educating adults, except in the way of providing education to children.
  • Primary prevention methods have been recommended by the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Stop It Now, Johns Hopkins' Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, and other evidence-based organizations.
  • Educational and tertiary methods are generally the area of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Parents for Megan's Law, Darkness to Light, and Stop Abuse Campaign. 
  • State-affiliated Coalitions Against Sexual Assault (CASA, usually preceded by the state, or given a similar acronym) work at both primary and tertiary angles. Darkness to Light does some work in primary prevention as well.
Other Tip Sheets

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