Accurate statistics on the prevalence of child and adolescent sexual abuse are difficult to collect because of problems of under-reporting and the lack of one definition of what constitutes such abuse. However, there is general agreement among mental health and child protection professionals that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.
Sexual abuse can occur in or out of the home, and perpetrators can include parents, caregivers, other adults, or other children or youth. The following resources address statistics on child sexual abuse, including State and local examples.
Current CSA Statistics
- 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.
- The primary reason that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 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).