Child Sex Abuse Statistics

abuse statisticsChild sex abuse statistics and its effects are based on reported incidents and studies conducted by professionals. As many cases of abuse go unreported, abuse statistics are thought to be substantially higher. 
  • Children of all ages, races, ethnicities, cultures and economic backgrounds are vulnerable to sexual abuse.
  • An estimated 300,000 children are sexually abused each year. There are approximately 40 million survivors of child sex abuse in the U.S.
  • Children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse between ages 7 and 13. 
  • Abuse statistics indicate that as many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. 
  • 90% of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68% are abused by family members.
  • Boys are more likely to be abused by someone outside the family and tend not to report their victimization.
  • Child sexual abuse involves coercion and occasionally violence. Perpetrators offer attention and gifts, manipulate or threaten the child, behave aggressively or use a combination of these tactics. In one study of child victims, half were subjected to physical force such as being held down, struck, or violently shaken.
  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
  • Abused teens are 3 times less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs.
  • About 80% of 21 year olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, and lack of trust in others are reported more often by people who have experienced child sexual abuse.
  • Adult survivors of child sexual abuse are 3 times more likely to report substance abuse problems versus the general population.
  • 14% of men and 36% percent of women in prison in the United States were abused as children.
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States is $124 billion.




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Fang, X., et al. The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevention. Child Abuse & Neglect (2012)

Finkelhor, David. “Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse.” The Future of Children. (1994)

Harlow, C. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. (1999). Prior abuse reported by inmates and probationers (NCJ 172879)

Simpson, T. L., & Miller, W. R. Concomitance between childhood sexual and physical abuse and substance use problems. A review. Clinical Psychology Review, 22, 27 – 77. (2002)

Snyder, Howard, N. Sexual assault of young children as reported to law enforcement: victim, incident, and offender characteristics. (2000)

US Department of Health and Human Services   Annual Childhood Maltreatment Report. (2005-2010).

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Long – Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect. Child Welfare Information Gateway. Washington, D.C.: (2006)

Wilson, Rose D. Health consequences of childhood sexual abuse. Perps in Psychiatric Care. (2010).