Online support group for parents of sexually abused children
A random sample of 2,869 18 to 24 year olds in the United Kingdom found that 11 percent reported having been sexually abused before the age of 13 years (Cawson et al. Price-Robertson, Bromfield and Vassallo’s (2010) summary of Australian prevalence studies estimates that four to eight percent of males and seven to 12 percent of females experience penetrative child sexual abuse and 12 to 16 percent of males and 23 to 36 percent of females experience non-penetrative child sexual abuse.
As Price-Robertson, Bromfield and Vassallo (2010) suggest, the term ‘child sexual abuse’ refers to a wide variety of behaviours, including both contact offences (eg fondling genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger or another object, fondling of breasts) and non-contact offences (eg voyeurism, exhibitionism and exposing the child to pornography).
Definitions of child sexual abuse adopted by researchers can influence the prevalence of abuse reported (Price-Robertson, Bromfield & Vassallo 2010).
It has been well-documented that the sexual abuse of children has a range of very serious consequences for victims. (2007) list depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, antisocial behaviours, suicidality, eating disorders, alcohol and drug misuse, post-partum depression, parenting difficulties, sexual re-victimisation and sexual dysfunction as some of the manifestations of child sexual abuse among victims (see also Abel & Harlow 2001; Kendall-Tackett, Williams & Finkelhor 2001).
Adam Tomison Director The sexual abuse of children is a serious social concern in Australia.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS 2005) , 12 percent of women and 4.5 percent of men in Australia report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years.
This figure does not reflect the total number of incidents of child sexual abuse, as much child sexual abuse goes unreported.
The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine for a variety of reasons and estimates vary considerably.
Finkelhor (1994) found that internationally, estimates vary from between seven percent and 36 percent for women, and three and 29 percent for men.
Foreword | Sexual offending against children is a highly emotive issue.
It is nonetheless important that public policy initiatives to prevent and/or respond to child sexual abuse are based on the available evidence about child sex offenders.