By educating the community about prevention, intervention and treatment, The CAC Houston is addressing the devastating reality of child sexual abuse. We all want to believe that our children are safe and that we can protect them from harm, but child sexual abuse is real, and recovery begins with the truth. Use the resources in this section to arm yourself with the education, resources and facts about child abuse to help stop the hurt and heal the child. Check out the resources below and feel free to contact The CAC with any questions or comments. Child sexual abuse is an issue that makes people extremely uncomfortable, because it hurts to think about anyone harming children. However, unreported or untreated child sexual abuse not only scars children and destroys families, it also leaves offenders free to abuse and cripple future generations.
Search Darkness to Light
The statistics and facts below can help you understand what child sexual abuse is, the risk factors and consequences for survivors, and how to identify and report suspected abuse. For all statistics and references, download the full statistics PDF. Child sexual abuse is far more prevalent than people realize. Find out how big the problem really is. Magnitude Statistics. Those who molest children look and act just like everyone else. Abusers can be neighbors, friends, and family members. Offender Statistics. Child sexual abuse takes place under specific, often surprising circumstances.
How often does Child Sexual Abuse take place?
Child sexual abuse , also called child molestation , is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Child sexual abuse can occur in a variety of settings, including home, school, or work in places where child labor is common. Child marriage is one of the main forms of child sexual abuse; UNICEF has stated that child marriage "represents perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls". The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at The word pedophile is commonly applied indiscriminately to anyone who sexually abuses a child,  but child sexual offenders are not pedophiles unless they have a strong sexual interest in prepubescent children. Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. A well-documented, long-term negative effect is repeated or additional victimization in adolescence and adulthood. A specific characteristic pattern of symptoms has not been identified,  and there are several hypotheses about the causality of these associations. Child abuse , including sexual abuse, especially chronic abuse starting at early ages, has been found to be related to the development of high levels of dissociative symptoms, which includes amnesia for abuse memories. Because child sexual abuse often occurs alongside other possibly confounding variables, such as poor family environment and physical abuse,  some scholars argue it is important to control for those variables in studies which measure the effects of sexual abuse.
This abuse is a major public health problem and a grave violation of human rights. Health care providers have an important role in identifying abuse and providing child or adolescent-centred care to disclosure of abuse. They also have an important role in connecting survivors to other services that they may need. For the first time, WHO has published guidelines to help primarily front-line healthcare providers give high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents up to age 18 who have or may have experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape. The new WHO Clinical Guidelines for responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused are grounded in human rights standards and ethical principles. They recommend that healthcare providers put the best interests of children and adolescents first by assessing and promoting their safety; ensuring confidentiality and privacy; offering choices in provision of care; respecting their autonomy and wishes; and addressing the specific needs of boys and girls with additional vulnerabilities, such as LGBTI adolescents, children and adolescents with disabilities, and those from low socio-economic groups and indigenous populations, and ensuring provision of care to them without discrimination. Girls and boys who experience abuse often face a number of short and long term negative consequences for their mental, physical, sexual, and reproductive health and well-being. Boys and girls who are sexually abused face higher risks of lifetime diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, externalizing symptoms, sleep disorders, and having thoughts of suicide and self-harm.