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About Child Sexual Abuse

Statistics about Child Sexual Abuse

The statistics are shocking.

  • 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.2
  • 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18. 2
  • 1 in 5 children is solicited sexually while on the internet. 1
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under. 4
  • The median age for reported sexual abuse is 9.
  • Victims of child sexual abuse report more substance abuse problems. 70-80% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive drug and alcohol use. 8

Who Sexually Abuses Children?

  • In as many as 93 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows the person that commits the abuse. 6
  • 30-40 percent of children who are sexually abused are abused by family members.3
  • Up to 50 percent of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18. 5
  • Approximately 70 percent of sexual offenders of children have between 1 and 9 victims. About 20-25 percent has 10 to 40 victims.9
  • Serial child molesters have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes. 9

Most children don't tell even if they have been asked. 7

  • Over 30 percent of victims never disclose the experience to ANYONE.
  • Young victims may not recognize that they have experienced sexual abuse.
  • Almost 80 percent initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Of those who do disclose, approximately 75 percent disclose accidentally. Of those who do disclose, more than 20 percent eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.
  • Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute only 1 to 4 percent of all reported cases.


  1. Finkelhor, D., Mitchell, K., & Wolak, J. (2001, March). Highlights of the youth internet safety survey. US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
  2. ACE Study - Prevalence - Adverse Childhood Experiences Http://  
  3. Kilpatrick, D., Saunders, B., & Smith, D. (2003). Youth victimization: Prevalence and implications. U.S. Depar tment of Justice, National Institute of Justice report.
  4. 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. Depar tment of Justice.
  5. 5.        Hunter, J.A., Figueredo, A., Malamuth, N.M., & Becker, J.V. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the Development of a typology. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, (2003) Volume 15, No. 1).
  6. Crimes Against Children Research Center, May 2005
  7. Darkness to Light. Statistics Surrounding Child Sexual Abuse.
  8. Day, A., Thurlow, K., & Woolliscroft, J. (2003). Working with childhood sexual abuse: A survey of mental health professionals.Child Abuse & Neglect, 27 , 191-198.
  9. Stewards of Children.