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Kids' Advocacy Place

Stopping Child Abuse    -    One Child at a Time

Abuse Statistics


 Sources for data:  Sexual Assault Response Center Advocate (2009), Texas Attorney General's web site, 2009, and Kids' Advocacy Place, Kerrville, Texas.


 -   The primary reasons that children do not report abuse immediately are:

OTHER FACTS:  Sexual abuse of children in the United States continues to be a horrific problem.  In 2003, approximately 10% of U.S. children were sexually abused (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [USDHHS], 2006).  Moreover, in the first national survey of prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of child sexual abuse, Finkelhor and colleagues discovered that almost one-quarter of the U.S. population indicated that they were victims of sexual abuse (Finkelhor, Hotaling, Lewis, & Smith, 1990).  

Due to variations in the definition of sexual abuse, sexual abuse estimates, and the absence of reliable data concerning reported cases, the exact number of sexually abused children is unknown.  Actual sexual victimization is thought to be as high as one in four girls and one in ten boys (Finkelhor, 1993).  Despite these discrepancies, researchers and counselors nation-wide agree that sexual victimization can have a profound effect on children and those effects have been known to have lasting impact throughout their lives.

Evidence from hundreds of research studies and agency reports suggest that abused children suffer both short- and long-term consequences that negatively impact their physical and emotional health, cognitive abilities, educational attainment, and social and behavioral development (Chalk, Gibbons, & Scarupa, 2002).  Some of these consequences include low self-esteem, social withdrawal, depression, anxiety, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and self-destructive behavior (e.g., substance abuse, self-mutilation, and suicide attempts; Thompson & Wyatt, 1999)

Research also shows that comprehensive, multidimensional programs seem to be the most effective in preventing sexual abuse (Daro, 1994; Finkelhor & Dziuba-Leatherman, 1995; Renk et al., 2002).  The U.S. Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect (1995) further contends that a comprehensive abuse prevention strategy should be "neighborhood-based" and "child-centered."  The view that prevention of child maltreatment should be "child-centered" infers that schools play a critical role in the identification and prevention of child abuse and neglect (Horton & Cruise, 2001; Renk et al., 2002).  After all, schools are the one place we have access to the vast majority of our children for education and screening programs.

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