In the United States alone, it is estimated that one child is sexually abused every 8 minutes and that over 50% of survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) experienced the abuse before they turned 12 years old. Broken down by gender, estimates have suggested that between 7-36% of females and 3-29% of males have or will have experienced childhood sexual abuse. Among adults, this leads to estimates of roughly 1 in 6 men and 1 in 4 to 5 women being childhood sexual abuse survivors.1,2
10% of children experience contact sexual abuse
The percentage of children experiencing contact sexual abuse before adulthood (age 18) is roughly 10% and one out of every 25 children between the ages of 10-17 will receive a solicitation for sex via the internet.2 Of all childhood maltreatment incidents in the United States, an estimated 8.4% involve sexual abuse. CSA can co-exist with other forms of child abuse, often called polyvictimization. The most common type of abuse to co-occur with sexual abuse is thought to be child neglect.3
Children with disabilities are at increased risk
Children with disabilities are nearly three times as likely to be sexually abused than children without disabilities, and specifically, children with mental health or intellectual disabilities are over 4.5 times more likely to experience CSA than children without. Over 40% of all females experiencing rape reported the incident happening before age 18. Of this group, roughly 30% reported the rape occurring between ages 11-17, and over 12% before or at age ten. The average age to enter the sex trade is thought to be between 12-14 years old.2
It has been estimated that 60% of children who experience CSA do not report the incident or pattern of abuse, and that in 93% of cases, children know their abuser beforehand. Abusers and survivors can come from all demographics and backgrounds; however, it is thought that 88% of abusers are male. Up to half of all CSA perpetrators are younger than 18 years old, and this group makes up about 20% of those arrested for CSA. As many as 12-24% of abusers are known re-offenders of CSA, and although abuse is often committed by acquaintances of the child, as many as 47% of abusers are direct or extend family of the child.1,2
It is important to note that these statistics are only estimates. Many survivors and perpetrators do not report incidents of childhood sexual abuse, leading to approximations that may underestimate the true scope and nature of the issue.
- Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network). https://www.rainn.org/articles/adult-survivors-child-sexual-abuse. Accessed December 15, 2017.
- The Scope of Child Sexual Abuse Definition and Fact Sheet. Stop It Now! http://www.stopitnow.org/faq/the-scope-of-child-sexual-abuse-definition-and-fact-sheet. Accessed December 15, 2017.
- Child Maltreatment Report-2015. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Children’s Bureau. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/child-maltreatment-2015<. Published January 19, 2017. Accessed December 15, 2017.