Wednesday, February 3, 2016 - 10:28
Nearly all child sex abusers know their victims
Despite the stereotypical image of an unknown child sex abuser, only seven percent of perpetrators in such cases are complete strangers to their victims. The vast majority of child sex abuse victims' abusers are someone they know, like a family member, friend or acquaintance, according to a study released by the National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking and Sexual Violence against Children on Monday. The study shows that in 36 percent of cases children are sexually abused by a family member and in 32 percent of cases by another known person, like a family friend or acquaintance. In 10 percent of the cases the abuse is done by someone who works with children as a teacher, sports coach or babysitter. Only 7 percent of child sexual abuse cases involve complete strangers. "It is a big fear of parents that their child is ever a victim of sexual abuse. Many parents warn their children about predators, and are careful when their child comes in contact with, for example me who work in child care or as a swimming teacher." National Rapporteur Corinee Dettmeijer said. "But by putting so much emphasis on strangers and men who work with children, you overlook victims and perpetrators." The study took a sample from nearly 600 cases in 2012 and 2013 in which an offender was convicted of physical child abuse. The sample consisted of 182 offenders. In almost 90 percent of the cases, the abuse consisted of serious sexual abuse, including touching of genitals and penetration. In more than 75 percent of the cases the abuse did not happen only once, the period in which the abuse occurred spans from more than one day to a period of 12 years. There were hardly any female offenders in the study, with 97 percent of the examined cases involving male offenders. The age of the perpetrators range from very young to elderly. In six out of ten cases the offender himself was also a minor. In 85 percent of the cases the victim is a girl. On average victims are 10.4 years old when the abuse starts.