Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a public health concern of epidemic proportions.

  • Shockingly Prevalent-According to some estimates, as many as 20% of American women and 10% of American men are childhood sexual abuse survivors (D. Finkelhor, 1994).
  • Lifelong Struggle-Victims experience decreased educational attainment, earn lower incomes as adults and are vulnerable to a variety of psychological disorders including: depression, substance abuse and PTSD (S. P. Thomas et al., 2013; de Jong, Alink, Bijleveld, Finkenauer, & Hendriks, 2015).
  • Insufficient Preparation-Intuition is not enough. Most parents are unable to identify sex abuse symptoms in their own children without proper training (Pulling & Jones 2006).
  • Suppressed Disclosure– Victims often blame themselves or fear possible perpetrator retribution. As a result, only about one in three sex crimes is ever reported to the police (Office of Justice, 2013).
  • Rampant Misinformation-Family members—not strangers—are the primary perpetrators of sex crimes against children under the age of 5 (David Finkelhor, Ormrod, United States. Office of Juvenile, & Delinquency, 2000). Moreover, 70% of children above the age of 12 are sexually abused by a personal or family acquaintance (David Finkelhor et al., 2000).
  • Ineffective Responses-Agan (2011) observed no decline in sex crime recidivism subsequent to registration. Similarly, J. Levenson et al. (2007), found that residency restrictions (i.e. those that require SOs to live 2,500 ft from schools) were largely ineffectual.



Agan, A. Y. (2011). Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function? Journal of Law and Economics, 54(1), 207-239. doi:10.1086/658483

de Jong, R., Alink, L., Bijleveld, C., Finkenauer, C., & Hendriks, J. (2015). Transition to adulthood of child sexual abuse victims. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 24, 175-187. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2015.04.012

Finkelhor, D. (1994). Current information on the scope and nature of child sexual abuse. Future Child, 4(2), 31-53.

Finkelhor, D., Ormrod, R., United States. Office of Juvenile, J., & Delinquency, P. (2000). Characteristics of crimes against juveniles.

Levenson, J., Zgoba, K., & Tewksbury, R. (2007). Sex offender residence restrictions: Sensible crime policy or flawed logic? Federal Probation, 71(3), 2-9.

Office of Justice, P. (2013). Female Victims of Sexual Violence, 1994-2010 : Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Reports;2013 ASI 6066-19.213;NCJ 240655.

Pullins, L. G., & Jones, J. D. (2006). Parental knowledge of child sexual abuse symptoms. Journal Of Child Sexual Abuse, 15(4), 1-18.

Thomas, S. P., Phillips, K., Carlson, K., Shieh, E., Kirkwood, E., Cabage, L., & Worley, J. (2013). Childhood Experiences of Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 49(3), 187-201. doi:10.1111/j.1744-6163.2012.00349.x




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