Child sexual abuse involves a

breach of trust and /or

exploitation of vulnerability



Child sexual abuse is defined as any sexual activity with a child where consent is not or cannot be given. This includes sexual contact this is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants and regardless of whether there is deception or the child understands the sexual nature of the activity. Sexually abusive acts may include penetration, sexual touching, or noncontact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism.


The exact prevalence, condition of occurrence, of child sexual abuse is unknown because many do not report or disclose the abuse. Shame and stigma prevent many survivors from disclosing the abuse. However it is estimated that 12-40% of children in the United State experience some form of childhood sexual abuse.

  • 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Some never disclose (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007)
  • Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006). This means there are more than 42 million adult survivors of child sexual abuse in the U.S.
  • Children of every gender, age, race, ethnicity, background, socioeconomic status and family structure are at risk. No child is immune. (
  • Family and acquaintance child sexual abuse perpetrators have reported that they look for specific characteristics in the children they choose to abuse. (
  • 56% of those who sexually abuse a child are acquaintances of either the child or the family. (
  • Family members commit 39% of the reported sexual abuse on children. (