Understanding the facts about child sexual abuse can help you better protect the children in your life.
The facts are astounding.
- Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- 30% of children are abused by family members.
- As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts.
- About 35% of victims are 11 years old or younger.
- Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children.
What about stranger danger?
Research shows that the greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family; about 10% of children who are sexually abused are abused by strangers. People who abuse children look and act just like everyone else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy, seeking out settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.
Learn more about the facts and impacts of abuse on our statistics page.
It impacts everyone.
It is a root cause of many health and social problems we face in our communities.
Consequences to children and to our society begin immediately.
- 70-80% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use.
- One study showed that among male survivors, 50% have suicidal thoughts and more than 20% attempt suicide.
- Young girls who are sexually abused are more likely to develop eating disorders as adolescents.
- Both males and females who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in commercial sexual activity (prostitution).
- The CDC estimates that child abuse costs us billions annually.
- Sexually abused children who keep the abuse a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood.