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Facts About Child Abuse

In 2007, 7.6 % of children in the United States were reported to be sexually abused?[1]

Estimates of total abuse range from 20-25% of girls and 10-15% of boys …[2]

Experts estimate that reported cases of child sexual abuse amount to only 20% of actual abuse cases…[3]

37% of all child abusers have more than one victim, 16% have more than two…[4]

In 2008, 1,104 cases of child sexual abuse were reported in Oregon…[5]

Nearly 90% of all child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child and his/her family knows well and trusts—a parent, relative, family friend, teacher, coach, minister, youth leader — NOT through so-called “stranger danger”…[6]

Most parents– as well as schools, churches and other institutions of trust– still are on the lookout primarily for “stranger danger” and NOT for the hallmark signs of grooming and abuse by a trusted adult…[7]

Among adults, 16% of men and 27 % of women report having been sexually abused as a child…[8]

Experts estimate that those adults who report having been sexually abused as children amount to an estimated 28 – 47% of the actual abuse cases…[9]

Of those adults who eventually disclose the secret of having been sexually abused as children, most do not do so until nearly 20 years after the abuse, and that many do not disclose the abuse until they are in their 40’s, 50’s or even 60’s…[10]

While the civil statute of limitations in Oregon (the period of time a victim has to bring a civil lawsuit against the abuser) does not expire until the victim turns 40 years of age—or five years after the victim first realized that the abuse him/her lasting psychological injury, yet the criminal statute of limitations prevents prosecution of perpetrators for their crimes after the victim turns 30 years of age, or 12 years after the abuse is reported to authorities, whichever occurs first…[11]


[1] U.S. Dept HHS, Admin, Children, Youth and Families, Child Maltreatment, 2007, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2009
[2]
John E.B. Meyers, 1 Evidence in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases, Section 5.2at 414 n.23 (3rd ed. 1997)
[3]
David Finkelhor, Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory & Research, 232, (1984)
[4]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Office of the Assistance Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Male Perpetrators of Child Maltreatment: Findings From NCANDS, 29 (January 2005)
[5]
Oregon Department of Humans Services. Children, Adults, and Families Division. 2008 Status of Children in Oregon’s Child Protection System, 5 (2008)
[6]
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Child Maltreatment 2007. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/chapter5.htm, last accessed 9/23/09. The department reports “the percentage of perpetrators of sexual abuse was highest among friends or neighbors (57.7%), other relatives (32.0%) and child daycare providers (23.9%).”
[7]
See for instance http://www.mcgruff.org/Advice/stranger_danger.php
[8]
FInkelhor, D. Hotaling, G, Lewis, I.A., & Smith, C. (1990). Sexual abuse in a national survey of adult men and women: prevalence, characteristics,and risk factors. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 19-28.
[9]
Smith, D. W., Letourneau, E. J., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Resnick, H. S., & Best, C. L., Delay in disclosure of childhood rape: Results from a national survey, 24 Child Abuse & Neglect 273-87 (2000) (28% of female interviewees never disclosed before study); Lyon, T.D., Scientific Support for Expert Testimony on Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation, Critical Issues In Child Sexual Abuse 107-138 (J.R. Conte, ed. 2002) (42% to 85% nondisclosure rates in abused men).
[10]

[11]
ORS 131.125(2)


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