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Child Abuse

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Experts estimate that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 18 will be involved in some form of forced sexual experience with an adult

Family Law - Child Abuse

Child Sexual abuse is defined as Employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or any simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct; or rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.

Each year, approximately 38,000 child abuse investigations are reported to the Child Abuse Central Index. These reports pertain to investigations of alleged physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental/emotional abuse, and/or severe neglect of a child. The reports are submitted by police, sheriffs, county welfare and probation departments.

The Attorney General's Child Protection Program administers the Child Abuse Central Index, which was created by the Legislature in 1965 as a tool for state and local agencies to help protect the health and safety of 's children.
Information on file in the Child Abuse Central Index include:

  • Names and personal descriptors of the suspects and victims listed on reports;
  • Reporting agency that investigated the incident;
  • The name and/or number assigned to the case by the investigating agency;
  • Type(s) of abuse investigated; and the findings of the investigation for the incident, which is either substantiated or inconclusive.

Child Abuse Facts

•  There are 30 abuse and neglect cases for every 1000 people

•  Average age of a child victim is 7 years of age

•  Experts estimate that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 8 boys under the age of 18 will be involved in some form of forced sexual experience with an adult

•  80% of prison inmates have been abused as children

•  More than 80% of all prostitutes and hustlers were sexually abused as children

  • Nationally, an estimated 903,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2001. (National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), 2001)
  • Also, in 2001, 3 million children were subjects of a Child Protective Services investigation or assessment and more than 275,000 are estimated to have been placed in foster care. 
  • Prevent Child Abuse-America, one of the nation's leading child abuse prevention organizations, estimates the total direct and indirect cost of child abuse and neglect is approximately $94,076,882,227 per year.
  • Maltreatment deaths were more often associated only with neglect (35.6%) than with any other type of abuse.  (NCANDS, 2001)
  • Women comprised 59.3 percent of all perpetrators, while men comprised 40.7 percent.  Female perpetrators were typically younger than male perpetrators.  (NCANDS, 2001)
  • Children under the age of one accounted for 41 percent of child fatalities during 2001.  (NCANDS, 2001)
  • About one fifth of the victims (19.0%) were removed from their homes as a result of investigations or assessments.  In addition, 4.7 percent of non-victims were placed in foster care.  Nationally, it is estimated that more than 275,000 children were placed in foster care as a result of child abuse investigations or assessments.  (NCANDS, 2001)
  • Youngest children are the most vulnerable to the tragic consequences of abuse and neglect.  Children under the age of one accounted for 41% of child fatalities due to neglect, while 85% of fatalities were younger than 6 years of age(NCANDS , 2001).
  • Childhood abuse and neglect increases the odds of arrest as a juvenile by 59%, arrest as an adult by 28% and arrest for a violent crime by 30%. (Update, The Cycle of Violence, National Institute of Justice, 2001) 
  • Because of its anonymity, rapid transmissions and unsupervised nature, the Internet has become the venue of choice for predators who transmit and receive child pornography.  ( Child Abuse Prevention Handbook , Attorney General's Crime and Violence Prevention Center)
  • The 2001 reports showed that the victimization rate is inversely related to the child's age. In other words, the younger and more helpless the child, the higher the rate of abuse. Looking at the types of abuse: 59.2% were neglect, 18.6% physical abuse, 9.6% sexual abuse, 6.8% emotional or psychological abuse, and 19.5 were typed "other." The children were 50% white, 25% African American and 14.5% Hispanic. 48% were male. 
  • Note that victims of sexual abuse were LESS likely than victims of other types of maltreatment to receive services from Child Protective Services., and if a medical professional reported abuse the child was 18% more likely to receive services. If the child was under 4 or was with a single mother it was more likely to receive services. 

    The majority of perpetrators of child abuse were parents--80.9%. Non-parents accounted for 15.9% of abuse.

Clergy Child Abuse

Suits have arisen in 25 states against priests and other clerics for sexual assaults on children. Several hundred lawsuits have already been settled for Millions against the Boston Catholic Archdiocese alone. These cases of child abuse are not limited to the Catholic Church even though they have gotten most of the headlines lately. Authorities in several states are now demanding the church organizations to divulge the names of suspected pedophiles. Literally hundreds of abuse victims have had the courage to step forward in recent months in various locales. Clerics are now also being held accountable in criminal courts for their actions.

Child Abuser Profile

Most child sexual abuse is committed by someone who the child knows. The offender is usually a family member, babysitter, trusted friend, acquaintance or a person who regularly comes into contact with the child. There is no such thing as a "typical" sexual abuser of children. They come from all social, racial, and economic backgrounds. Although the majority of abuser are males, there are also documented cases of female abusers. Children are vulnerable to sexual abuse from infancy through early adulthood. Children make easy targets because:

•  They are easily influenced by adults

•  They are naturally trusting and curious

•  They enjoy affection and attention from adults

Sexual abuse often starts with a long process where harmless touching gradually crosses over the line to sexual touching. The child may not realize that the touching has become inappropriate.

Basic Facts about Abuse

•  Sexual abuse is against the law. It is a serious crime, and it should be stopped

•  All people have the right to feel safe from forced or tricked touch to their private parts (sexual abuse)

•  The victim of sexual abuse is not to blame. It is NEVER the child's fault. Nobody asks to be sexually abused

•  Always believe the child who discloses sexual abuse. Children NEVER lie about this problem.

•  In order for the sexual abuse to stop, it is necessary to TELL SOMEONE YOU TRUST

•  If a trusted relative or friend [or clergy member]has difficulty believing that the sexual abuse occurred, you can seek outside help:

•  Police-- To report sexual abuse

•  C.E.S. Children's Emergency Services-- to report sexual abuse.

Indicators of Possible Child Abuse in: Sexual Abuse Cases

(Following information taken from Information Guide published by Childhelp USA)

Child's Appearance

•  Has torn, stained or bloody underclothing

•  Experiences pain or itching in genital area

•  Has bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vagina or regions

•  Has venereal disease

•  Has swollen or red cervix, vulva or perinea

•  Has semen around mouth or genitalia or on clothing.

•  Is pregnant

Child's Behavior

•  Appears withdrawn or engages in fantasy or infantile behavior

•  Has poor peer relations

•  Is unwilling to participate in physical activities

•  Is engaging in delinquent acts or runs away

•  States she or he has been sexually assaulted

Perpetrator's Behavior

•  Extremely protective or jealous of child

•  Encourages child to engage in prostitution or sexual acts in the presence of perpetrator

•  Has been sexually abused as a child

•  Is experiencing marital difficulties

•  Misuses alcohol or other drugs

•  Is frequently absent from home


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