First Things First

5 Ways You Can Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

What percentage of childhood sexual abuse victims know their abuser? Where might you find someone who sexually abuses children? What percentage of child sexual abuse victims tell someone about the abuse? What percentage of child sexual abuse reports by children are fabricated?

Unfortunately, most people don’t want to spend time thinking about this topic. But for the sake of children, it requires your attention. About 1 in 10 children will experience sexually abuse before turning 18.

It might surprise you to to learn that about 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.

Perhaps you’ve been led to believe that child sexual abusers look like shady characters. If so, think again. According to Darkness to Light, a website devoted to ending child sexual abuse, those who molest children usually look and (mostly) act just like everyone else. You can find people who sexually abuse children in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues and any other place children gather.

And it is important to realize that abusers can be and often are other children, although most adolescent sex offenders are not sexual predators and will not go on to become adult offenders.

Researchers estimate that 38 percent of child victims disclose their sexual abuse. Of these, 40 percent tell a close friend. This means that the vast majority of child sexual abuse victims never report the abuse to authorities. Research suggests, however, that such disclosure rates may be increasing. And it is estimated people only fabricate 4 to 8 percent of child sexual abuse reports.

Who is most at risk?

Who are perpetrators looking for?
First, you should know that perpetrators say they look for passive, quiet, troubled, lonely children from single parent or broken homes. Abusers frequently seek out children who are particularly trusting, working proactively to establish a relationship with them before abusing them. They might also seek to establish a trusting relationship with the victim’s family as well.

So, what can you do?

As concerned community citizens, everyone can take action against child sexual abuse.

Finally, if you want know more about how you can protect children from sexual abuse, visit darknesstolight.orgYou’ll find more resources, along with a downloadable booklet for families and communities that outlines the steps you can take.

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