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Sexual Abuse Statistics: The Surprising Truth

March 10, 2022  ·  By HM&M

Sexual Abuse Statistics: The Surprising Truth

Sexual abuse is a deeply troubling circumstance for victims and their families. Often, the effects of abuse for a victim are life-long.

Furthermore, powerful organizations like churches, medical institutions, and athletic groups frequently choose to protect their reputations instead of appropriately disciplining the perpetrators they employ. In situations like these, it’s vitally important to understand the truth about sexual abuse so you’re able to recognize when it’s happened to you or a loved one.

Read on for surprising statistics about sexual abuse and what to do about it.

Statistics About Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse of children is a frightening and horrific act, but it’s more common than most people realize. Whether abuse occurred in an organized setting—such as the recent news of widespread abuse in the Boy Scouts of America—or in some other setting, it’s important to know the facts and what to do about it.

  • One in ten children will be sexually abused before age 18. (Source)
  • Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults occur to children aged 17 and under. (Source)
  • Only about 38% of child victims tell anyone they’ve been sexually abused. (Source)
  • About 90% of child victims know their abuser personally. (Source)
  • Children aged six to 11 are more likely than other age groups to be sexually abused in multiple-victim circumstances, meaning the abuser has more than one victim. (Source)
  • Sexual abuse perpetrators frequently seek out children they view as trusting, and then intentionally develop a relationship with them before abusing them. (Source)
  • Eighty-two percent of all sexual abuse victims under age 18 are female. (Source)
  • Child sexual abuse victims are four times more likely than non-victims to abuse drugs and/or experience PTSD as adults, and three times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults. (Source)

If your child or a child you care for was sexually abused, you can talk to an attorney for free to understand your rights.

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a serious problem among the millions of elders in long-term care facilities. One of the troubling realities of nursing home abuse is that it can encompass sexual abuse and assault in addition to other types of harm.

  • In 2018, there were 52.4 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States, and by 2040, this age group will comprise more than 20% of the population. (Source, source)
  • Sexual abuse in nursing homes isn’t often reported, with only 1.9% of nursing home residents or their proxies reporting it. (Source)
  • Women and residents with dementia are more likely to be victims of nursing home sexual abuse. (Source)
  • More than 47% of nursing home residents had some form of Alzheimer’s disease as of 2016, making them more susceptible to sexual abuse. (Source)
  • The Administration for Community Living tracked more than 20,000 complaints of sexual abuse at long-term care facilities over a period of 20 years, averaging nearly three complaints per day. (Source)

For more resources about nursing home abuse, visit these blog posts.

Sexual Abuse in Large Organizations

A frightening trend in sexual abuse is that which occurs inside the walls of powerful institutions, such as medical organizations, universities, and amateur and professional sports teams. In these instances, we often see commonalities, like the abuser being in a position of power or the organization helping to cover up the abuse.

  • Data related to sexual abuse by doctors and medical professionals is hard to come by, perhaps due to a low rate of reported instances. However, an analysis of more than 100 cases of physician sexual abuse of patients found that the most common form of abuse (33% of reported instances) was inappropriate touching. (Source)
  • Over a period of ten years, 862 American physicians had state licensing disciplinary actions due to sexual misconduct. (Source)
  • In one study of 72 interviewees, the majority experienced sexual abuse in organized sports with 78% of those instances naming the coach as the perpetrator. (Source)
  • The relationship of dominance and submissiveness between a coach and an athlete, respectively, is regarded by experts as a key characteristic of sexual abuse trends in organized sports. (Source)
  • In a study of nearly 4,000 athletes across a wide variety of sports, 93% of respondents who experienced sexual harassment or assault during their time in sports didn’t report it. (Source)
  • A study of Canadian elite and Olympic athletes revealed that 21.8% had sexual intercourse with people in positions of power (coaches, team doctors, physiotherapists, and managers) within their sport, with 8.6% of those instances being rape. (Source)

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Sexual Abuse

If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse, it could be helpful to discuss your options with a trusted attorney.

Hurley McKenna & Mertz has ample experience representing victims of sexual abuse in court with notable, high-profile results. We understand the emotional toll that such abuse can take, and we will work as your caring partner in seeking justice.

If you want to explore your options, you can reach out to us for a free consultation.

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