What is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child Sexual Abuse includes both touching and non-touching sexual activity between an adult and a minor child.
Who is affected by Child Sexual Abuse?
In 2010, over 60,000 child sexual abuse cases were reported*. Unfortunately, the number of reported cases does not accurately capture the actual number of children sexually abused because the majority of child sexual abuse is not reported. Child Sexual Abuse can have lifelong impacts. Children who have been sexually abused describe a variety of feelings including fear, shame, hopelessness, and display high risk behaviors including drug abuse and over sexualized behavior.
Non-offending family members and society are also impacted by child sexual abuse. Parents and other non-offending family members may feel guilty or stressed about the sexual abuse. The negative effects cost society billions of dollars annually for healthcare, law enforcement, social services and court costs.
Some examples of Child Sexual Abuse include:
• Sex trafficking
• Sex of any kind
• Touching a child’s genitals and/or forcing a child to touch someone else’s genitals
• Playing sexual games
• Masturbation (in the presence of the child or having the child participate)
• Child pornography (including having the child watch)
• Exposing self to child
• Inappropriate texts, phone calls, and/or digital communication
Who are the perpetrators?
The majority of abusers are someone that the child knows well and trusts and has easy access to the child. Most reported abusers are male. Any adult who sexually abuses a child is taking advantage of the child’s trust and vulnerability.
What to do if your child has been sexually abused?
Let your child know you believe them. Listen to your child and allow them to express their feelings (if they want to). Your child may not want to talk about the abuse and that is OK. Be there to listen if and when they do want to talk. Let your child know that the abuse is in no way their fault.
Find a counselor for your child. It is important for your child to process through the abuse. Untreated trauma can lead to a variety of negative long-term impacts.
Independence House, Inc. offers counseling specialized for children (ages 5+) who have been sexually abused. Counseling is free and confidential.
*U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. (2011). Child Maltreatment 2010. Available from http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/index.htm#can
The Independence House Child Sexual Abuse Program is funded by MOVA through the 1984 VOCA grant from OVC, OJP, U.S.D.O.J.