Facing the Facts
Our children need our help. If we, as adults, do not face the facts about the frequency of child sexual abuse – in communities of all races and ethnic backgrounds, rich and poor alike – we leave children to suffer their abuse alone, in silence and without recourse. As parents, teachers and friends, we owe it to the young people in our lives to be aware of the potential to any one of them to become a target of abuse. Following are just some of the statistics to acquaint you with the extent and impact of child abuse in our communities.
The Alarming Numbers
- One in three girls and one in six boys will suffer some form of sexual exploitation.
(Child Sexual Abuse -The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths 1984, pg. 175)
- Child abuse is a largely hidden crime, so it is difficult to estimate the number of people who are sexually abused at some time during their childhood. Research consistently reveals that most victims do not disclose their abuse.
(Child Sexual Abuse -The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths, 1984. pg. 131)
- There were 85,440 substantiated cases of child abuse in Canada in 2008. A further 17,918 cases were suspected but could not be substantiated. These figures account only for cases reported and investigated through Canadian child welfare services.
(Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian Incidence Study of reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2008.)
- 60% of all reported sexual assaults are against children.
(Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2001). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2001. Catalogue no. 85–224-XIE. Ottawa: Government of Canada (pg. 13)
- Child sexual abuse typically goes on for an average of 3.5 years prior to discovery. (The Sexual Assault Centre)
- 95 % of child sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.
Source: (Child Sexual Abuse -The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths, 1984. pg. 215–218).
- Among adult Canadians, 53% of women and 31% of men had been sexually abused when they were children. (Health Canada)
Those Affected by Abuse
- 60% of all reported sexual assaults are against children. (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2001). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2001. Catalogue no. 85–224-XIE. Ottawa: Government of Canada (pg. 13)
- 93% of victims of child abuse know their perpetrators. (Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile. Statistics Canada, 2001.)
- A study of 360 cases from 1985 to 1989 determined that, among the confirmed sexual abuse cases, 79% of children initially denied sexual abuse or were tentative in disclosing. One quarter of these children disclosed accidentally. 22% of the disclosures were recanted at one point. (www.prevent-abuse-now.com/stats/html.)
- Children often fail to report because of the fear that disclosure will bring consequences even worse than being victimized again. The victim may fear consequences from the family, feel guilty for consequences to the perpetrator, and/or may fear subsequent retaliatory actions from the perpetrator. (Berlinger & Barbieri, 1984; Groth, 1979; Swanson & Biaggio, 1985.)
- Child sexual abuse affects all of society. 70% of runaway girls and boys, 70% of adolescent drug addicts and 90% of young prostitutes have been the victims of sexual abuse. (The Sexual Assault Centre.)
- Sexual abuse in childhood may be a major risk factor contributing to negative outcomes in childhood and adult life, including mental health and interpersonal skill problems, increased risk of criminality and substance abuse, and poor academic performance. (Chicago Children’s Advocacy Centre.)
- In over 90% of child abuse cases, the offender is a family member, friend or someone else that these children know well. Fathers account for 97% of inter-familial sexual abuse perpetrators.(Statistics Canada, Family Violence in Canada, p. 6.)
- It has been found that child sex offenders will molest on average 117 children in their lifetime. (National Institute of Mental Health, 1988.)
- Adolescents account for 25% of child sex offenders. The research shows that between 3% and 10% of adolescent sex offenders are female. (National Clearing House on Family Violence, Child Sexual Abuse, 1997)
- It is estimated that approximately 71% of child sex offenders are under 35 and know their respective victims, at least casually. About 80% of these individuals fall within normal intelligence ranges; 59% gain sexual access to their victims through seduction or enticement. (Burgess & Groth, 1984.)