Statistics – Child Sexual Abuse

Statistics - Child Sexual Abuse

Who Are The Victims?

  • One in three girls and one in six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 [1]

  • 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.[2]

  • One in 5 youth received a sexual approach or solicitation over the Internet in the
    past year.[3]

  • The average age for first abuse is 9.9 years for boys and 9.6 years for
    girls. [3]

  • Abuse typically occurs within a long-term, on-going relationship between the offender and victim, escalates over time and lasts an average of four years.[4]

  • Many child sexual abuse victims never disclose their abuse to anyone. Less than 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the police.[5]

  • Children are most vulnerable between ages 7-13.[6]

  • 29% of all forcible rapes occurred when the victim was under 11 years

  • 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 12.[8]

  • 44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 18.[8]

  • Children with disabilities are 4 to 10 times more vulnerable to sexual abuse than their non-disabled peers.[9]

  • Nearly 30% of child sexual assault victims identified by child protective service agencies were between 4 and 7 years of age.[10]

  • 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker, 34.2% of attackers were family members and 58.7% were acquaintances and only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the

  • Nearly 50% of all the victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under the age of 12.[12]

  • 60% of girls who had sex before the age of 15 were coerced by males averaging 6 years their senior.[13]

  • Women who experienced sexual abuse as a child are 2 to 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted later in life.[1]

  • Like rape, child molestation is one of the most underreported crimes: only 1-10% are ever   disclosed. Source: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin.

  • Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute only 1% to 4% of all reported cases. Of these reports 75% are reported by adults. Children fabricate sexual abuse less than 1% of the


What Are The Effects Of Child Sexual Abuse?

  • The experience of sexual abuse for a child distorts her or his self-concept, orientation to the world and affective capabilities.[16]

  • High rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, dissociative
    disorders, interpersonal dysfunction, sexual problems and suicidal ideation have all been identified to varying degrees among men and women who survive child sexual abuse.[17]

  • Child sexual assault victims are 4.7 times more likely to be the
    subsequent victim of a sex crime.[18]

  • Adolescents with a history of sexual abuse are significantly more
    likely to engage in sexual behavior that puts them at risk for HIV infection.[19]

  • A 1996 report from the US Department of Justice estimated rape and
    sexual abuse of children to cost $1.5 billion in medical expenses and $23 billion total annually to
    US victims.[20]

  • When sexually abused children are not treated, society must later deal with resulting problems such as mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, suicide and the
    perpetuation of a cycle of sexual abuse.[21]


[1] Arata, C. (2002) Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Revictimization. Clinical Psychology, 9: 135-164.
[2] Hopper, J. (1998). Child Sexual Abuse: Statistics, Research, Resources. Boston, MA Boston University School of Medicine. Child Sexual Abuse: A Mental Health Issue. Kentucky Division of Child Abuse and Domestic Violence
[3] David Finkelhor, Kimberly J. Mitchell, and Janis Wolak, 2000, Online Victimization: A Report on the Nation’s Youth, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: Arlington, VA. Darkness 2 Light. Statistics Surrounding Child Sexual Abuse.
[4] American Academy of Pediatrics, Preventing Sexual Violence, An Educational Toolkit for Health Care Professionals, The Facts about Sexual Violence,
[5] Hanson, R. F., Resnick, H. S., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Best, C. (1999). Factors related to the reporting of childhood rape. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, 559–569. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(99)00028-9.
[6] David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center.
[7] National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center, 1992
[8] US Department of Justice Sex Offense and Offenders Study. 1997.
[9] Sobsey, D. (1994). Violence and abuse in the lives of people with disabilities: The end of silent acceptance? Baltimore: Paul H. Brooks.
[10] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families, Child Maltreatment, 1995.
[11] Simpson, C., Odor, R., & Masho, S. (2004 August). Childhood Sexual Assault Victimization in Virginia. Center for Injury & Violence Prevention. Virginia Department of Health, Snyder, H N. (2000). Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: Victim, incident, and offender characteristics. National Center for Juvenile Justice, U.S. Department of Justice.
[12] U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics, by Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D., National Center for Juvenile Justice, July 2000, NCJ 182990,
[13] The Alan Guttmacher Institute. 1994. Sex and American Teenagers.
[14] Hanson, R.F., Resnick, H.S., Saunders, B.E., Kilpatrick, D.G., & Best, C. (1999). Factors Relating to the Reporting of Childhood Sexual Assault. Child Abuse and Neglect, (23) 559-569; FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
[15] David Finkelhor and Gerald Hotaling, Sexual Abuse in a National Survey of Adult Men and Women: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Risk Factors, Child Abuse and Neglect (1990), 14, 19-28.
[16] Finkelhor D, Browne A. The traumatic impact of child sexual abuse: A Conceptualization. J Orthopsychiat. 1985;55:530–541.
[17] Browne, A., & Finkelhor, D. (1986), Impact of child sexual abuse: A review of the research. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 66-77.
[18] Merrill, L.L., Newell, C.E., Gold, S.R., and Millen, J.S. Childhood Abuse and Sexual Revictimization in a Female Navy Recruit Sample. Naval Health Research Center, Pub. 97-5, 1997.
[19] Larry K. Brown, M.D., et al, American Journal of Psychiatry 2000;157:1413-1415.
[20] T. R. Miller, M. A. Cohen, B. Wiersema, Victim costs and consequences: A new look. (US Department of Justice, Washington, DC., 1996).
[21] Jennifer Brownell, Director of the local CAC, Finger Lakes Child Abuse Response Team