What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Let's focus on one particular ACE: Child Sexual Abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is any interaction in which a child is used for the sexual stimulation of another person. 

  • This can occur between a child and adult, a child and teen, or a child and another child. 

  • Abuse can occur in person and online. Sexual abuse that occurs online is often referred to as online sexual exploitation.

The Scope of this Silent Epidemic and Public Safety Crisis

  • 1 in 4 females and 1 in 13 males will be sexually abused before the age of 18 (CDC) 

  • 40% of children who do disclose, tell a friend instead of a trusted adult. Often these cases never get reported. (Broman-Fulks, J. J., Ruggiero, K. J., Hanson, R. F., Smith, D. W., Resnick, H. S., Kilpatrick, D. G., & Saunders, B. E. (2007).) 

  • 60% of child victims of sexual abuse never tell anyone. (Ullman, S.E. 2007)

  • As many as 40% of children who are sexually abused are abused by older and/or or more powerful children. (Finkelhor, D. 2012)

  • 90% of sexually abused children are abused by someone they or their family knows. (NAPCAN, 2009)

  • The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be at least 9.3 billion dollars. This is likely an underestimate of the true impact of the problem since child sexual abuse is underreported. (CDC)

  • Approximately 70% to 90% of sex trafficking victims have a childhood history of prior sexual abuse. (World Without Exploitation, 2017)

Broward County Statistics:

  • Total number of Child Maltreatment Reports, FY July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019:  31,825

  • Total number of Child Sexual Abuse Reports, FY July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019:  1259

  • Total number of accepted intake reports of child-on-child sexual abuse allegations handled by BSO CPIS in conjunction with local LEO:  500+ 

      (Broward Crime Commission & DCF)

Child on Child Sexual Abuse

Over a third of all child sexual abuse is committed by someone under the age of 18.

 (Finkelhor, D. 2012)

Child on Child Abuse

This abuse has, in the past, been dismissed as “boys being boys”. We now recognize that this behavior is abusive and causes long-term trauma to the victims. 

We are aware of children who have abused other children on the school bus, on the playground, in unsupervised homes, and who have forced children to perform sexual acts in other settings. This is not “bullying”, it is sexual assault. Sexual assault needs to be reported, and both the victim and aggressor need appropriate treatment.  Acts of sexual abuse committed by a child may represent sexually-reactive behavior, which is the process of acting out sexual behaviors that were imposed on or modeled to the young person (Understand Sexually Reactive Youth, Rebekah Rose). Adolescents who receive appropriate treatment do not appear to continue offending as adults. 

Understanding the magnitude of Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse:  

  • Juveniles are the perpetrators in 43% of sexual assaults on children under age six.

  • Of these juvenile offenders, 14% are under age 12.

  • Juveniles who act out sexually against other children are more likely than adult sex offenders to offend in groups and/or at schools, and to have more victims who are male and younger. 

  • The number of youth coming to the attention of police for sex offenses increases sharply at age 12 and plateaus after age 14. Early adolescence is the peak age for youth offenses against younger children

  • Females constitute 7% of juveniles who commit sex offenses.

Hunter, J. A., Figueredo, A. J., Malamuth, N. M., & Becker, J. V. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the development of a typology. 

Hanson, R. K. & Morton-Bourgon, K. E. (2005). The characteristics of persistent sexual offenders: A meta-analysis of recidivism studies. 

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