WARNING: 12 Confronting Child Sexual Abuse Statistics All Parents Need to Know

September 19, 2017
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We must educate our children so they know to tell, and keep on telling until they are believed.

WARNING: 12 Confronting Child Sexual Abuse Statistics All Parents Need to Know

As a parent and an educator I find the statistics below both confronting and horrifying. However, they do highlight the reasons WHY we need to teach the children in our care Body Safety from the earliest of years.

Such age-appropriate knowledge is empowering for children, and might well be the difference between a child becoming one of these statistics or not.

As an advocate for Body Safety Education in both homes and schools, I have heard many sad and crippling stories from adult survivors; but it’s this one shared comment that stays with me, “If only I had known from the first inappropriate touch it was wrong, my life could have been so different.”

I am not a survivor of childhood sexual abuse but I am a mother and teacher who believes we can do better by our kids. We need to put our adult fear of this topic aside, and take on the responsibility of educating our children so they know to tell, and keep on telling until they are believed. We also have a responsibility to educate ourselves so we know the signs of sexual abuse and grooming. Believing a child when they disclose sexual abuse is of the utmost importance, as is our reaction to the disclosure.

These statistics are a call to action for parents, carers and teachers everywhere — let’s educate ourselves and our kids in Body Safety, and like any good “ripple effect,” let’s educate others to do the same! I am asking you to play your part. Ironically, you may never know but your advocacy could positively change a child’s life forever.

1. Approximately 20 percent of girls (1 in 5) and 8 percent of boys (1 in 12.5) will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009).

2. 95 percent of sexually abused children will be abused by someone they know and trust (NAPCAN 2009).

3. Of those molesting a child under six, 50 percent were family members. Family members also accounted for 23 percent of those abusing children 12 to 17 years (Snyder, 2000).

4. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994).

5. Males made up 90 percent of adult child sexual assault perpetrators, while 3.9 percent of perpetrators were female, with a further 6 percent classified as ’unknown gender’ (McCloskey & Raphael, 2005).

6. As many of 40 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by older, or more powerful children. (Finkelhor, 2012) Note: with the easy access to pornography we are seeing more and more cases of child on child sexual abuse, and older children/siblings sexually abusing younger children. Twenty-three percent of all 10 to 17 year olds experience exposure to unwanted pornography (Jones L., et al 2012).

7. Eighty-four percent of sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence (Snyder, 2000).

8. In 98 percent of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998).

9. 1 in 3 adults would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse (Australian Childhood Foundation, 2010).

10. Seventy-three percent of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least 1 year. Forty-five percent do not tell anyone for 5 years. Some never disclose (Broman-Fulks et al, 2007).

11. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are 10 to 13 times more likely to attempt suicide. (Plunkett A, O’Toole B, Swanston H, Oates RK, Shrimpton S, Parkinson P 2001).

12. Children living without either parent (foster children) are 10 times more likely to be sexually abused than children who live with both biological parents. Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010).

In my experience, children do not lie about sexual abuse and the research would indicate this. Please educate your child in Body Safety. I truly hope they may never need this knowledge but think of it as a safety belt — just in case.

We also know that children who are being sexually abused may first disclose to a friend. If that friend has been educated in Body Safety they will know to tell a trusted adult on their Safety Network. Educating children in Body Safety is in the best interests of all children.

If these statistics have raised any issues please, go to this links page. For more statistics and general information on child sexual abuse please visit Darkness to Light. To help get sexual abuse prevention education in all schools in the US please support Erin’s Law.

Free My Body Safety Rules poster to download for the children in your life.

Jayneen is the author of children’s books and a parent’s guide on Body Safety.

Bill Would Create Child Abuser Registry

A bill is working its way through the legislature to create a child abuse offender registry in Michigan.

If passed into law, the registry would be similar to the state’s sex offender registry, which is accessible to the public online.

St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling said he has concerns about it.

“The original intention of the sex offender registry was to identify people who might be a risk in a community to potential victims,” Wendling said. “And victims could avoid that contact with that person … When it comes to child abuse, those types of offenses are usually perpetrated by a person in your household, not a neighbor kid or random victim, and I don’t know what (a registry) would do to prevent it beyond what DHHS does through their registry and due diligence — those would be the type of issues the legislature needs to really explore before setting forward a highly technical, restrictive and potentially negative effect on citizens who have been convicted.”

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has a child abuse-neglect central registry that is not available to the public.

Bob Wheaton, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said the department has been reviewing the legislation, but has not taken an official stance on it.

The bill would require most people to be registered for 25 years. Those convicted of fourth-degree child abuse would have to register for two years, and those who are convicted of child abuse for a second time would be required to register for life.

Those who fail to register would be charged with a 90-day misdemeanor and a fine up to $1,000. Similar to the sex offender registry, convicted child abusers would have to regularly report and notify officials of any change of address. Those on the registry would also pay an annual $35 fee.

“Anything that protects the safety of the public we’re obviously interested in and supportive,” Wendling said, adding more research needs to be done to determine if the cost, imposition and affect on those convicted are balanced by any benefits.

In 2015, there were 498 confirmed child abuse victims in St. Clair County and 183 in Sanilac County, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy’s 2017 Kids Count data.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Robert Kosowski, D-Warren, in March. He did not immediately return a phone call Friday.

Child abuse can be reported by calling 911 or on the 24 Hour Child Abuse Reporting Line (855) 444-3911.

Signs of child abuse

In the child:

  • Shows sudden changes in behavior or social interaction.
  • Has not received help for physical or mental problems brought to the parents’ attention.
  • Is always hungry.
  • Is often dressed inappropriately for the weather.
  • Has unexplained marks, including burns, bites, bruises or black eyes.
  • Has fading bruises or other marks after an absence.
  • Has difficulty walking or sitting.
  • Shows bizarre or sophisticated sexual knowledge or behavior.

In the Parent:

  • Is overly protective of the child, limits the child’s contact with others.
  • Can’t explain or offers conflicting, unconvincing explanations for child’s injuries.
  • Negatively describes or shows little concern for the child.
  • Abuses drugs or alcohol.
  • Requests physical discipline measures be used with the child.

24 Hour Child Abuse Reporting Line (855) 444-3911

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