Child Abuse Statistics

  • About one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused during childhood. —National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Programs for Children, 2011.
  • A child is much more likely to be sexually abused by a recognized, trusted adult than by a stranger. —Roland C. Summit, “The Child Abuse Accommodation Syndrome,” Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 7, 1983: 182; and Jon R. Conte, ed., Critical issues in Child Sexual Abuse (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications), 122.
  • Most victims of child sexual abuse know their attacker; 34% of assailants were family members, 58% were acquaintances, and only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim. —US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement (2000), see Table 6 on page 10.
  • Incorporating parents into prevention efforts makes child safety training most effective. —National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Child Sexual Abuse Prevention: Programs for Children, 2011.
  • Involvement by parents is crucial because 65% of social workers, 53% of doctors and 58% of physician assistants do not report all suspected cases of child maltreatment. Several studies document that even medical professionals often miss cases of child abuse or fail to report suspicions. —Steven Delaronde et al, Opinions Among Mandated Reporters Toward Child Maltreatment Reporting Policies, 25 Child Abuse & Neglect 81, 88 (2000); David Finkelhor, Is Child Abuse Overreported? 48 Public Welfare 22, 25 (1990); E.G. Flaherty, et al, Pediatrician Characteristics Associated with Child Abuse Identification and Reporting: Results from a National Survey of Pediatricians, 11(4) Child Maltreatment 361 (2006); E.G. Flaherty, et al, From Suspicion of Physical Abuse to Reporting: Primary Care Clinician Decision-Making, 122  Pediatrics 611 (2008); and V.l. Gunn, et al, Factors Affecting Pediatricians’ Reporting of Suspected Child Maltreatment, 5(2) Ambulatory Pediatrics 96 (2005).
  • Personal safety education involves simply telling children that the parts of their body covered by bathing suits are not supposed to be touched by others and, when they are, they should tell someone. If the person they tell doesn’t believe them, they should keep on telling until they are believed. In addition to teaching the children personal safety, it is important to provide instruction to the parents so that they can reinforce these lessons at home and will know how to respond if a child makes a disclosure. Many teach fire safety, school crossing safety, or even swimming safety and yet bristle at the thought of personal safety designed to empower children to protect themselves against offenders. —Victor I. Vieth, “Suffering the Children: Developing Effective Church Policies on Child Maltreatment,” Jacob’s Hope (Vol. 2, Issue 1, June 2011).
  • One in four women will be sexually assaulted at some point. —P. Tjaden and N. Thoennes, “Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey” (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, 1998).
  • One in six men will be sexually assaulted at some point. —S. R. Dube et al., “Long-Term Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Gender of Victim,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 28 [2005]: 430–38).​
  • Regarding the age breakdown of sexual assault, 15 percent of sexual assault victims are under age twelve, 29 percent are ages twelve to seventeen, and 80 percent are under age thirty. —US Department of Justice, 2004 National Crime Victimization Survey (2004); US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement (2000).