the child terror
statistics on child sexual abuse
see below for text
While the prosecution of multiple-victim day-care molestation cases -- played prominently by the media -- has attracted public attention and professional argument, virtually everyone agrees that child sexual abuse remains a serious national problem. How big is the problem, who are the most likely victims and who are the most likely perpetrators?

Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a national assessment of child maltreatment. The data represents the "most complete national information about child maltreatment known to the State child protective services agencies." The report, based on information collected in 1996, offers insight into the magnitude and disposition of child maltreatment, including instances of sexual abuse.

According to the report, in 1996:

There were more than 1.6 million investigations of alleged abuse or neglect conducted
Thirty-four percent of the investigations resulted in substantiated or indicated child maltreatment. Fifty-eight percent were not substantiated
Of the nearly one million (968,748) substantiated or indicated victims of abuse, about 12% (119,397) were victims of sexual abuse - a decline of about 3% from 1990
Ten percent of sexual abuse victims were under 4 years of age, 36% were 12 or older
Girls were 77% of all sexual abuse victims, while boys were 23%
Sixty-five percent of all sexual abuse victims were white
Nearly 75% of sexual abuse cases were associated with male perpetrators
Seventy-seven percent of perpetrators of maltreatment were parents and 11% were other relatives of the victims. Only 2% of the perpetrators of maltreatment -- were people in other caretaking relationships to the child victims.

Copies of the report, Child Maltreatment 1996: Reports From the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, can be obtained from:

National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information
P.O. Box 1182, Washington, D.C. 20013-1182

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