Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sexual Abuse of Children

4. Sexual abuse of children

Child sexual abuse is any act, by an adult, involving a child under the age of 15 years in sexual activity.

Women were more likely to have been sexually abused than men. Before the age of 15, 12% (956,600) of women had been sexually abused compared to 4.5% (337,400) of men.

(This does not give any idea of the ratio of perpetrators of sexual abuse).

Personal Safety Survey, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2005

Research overseas has estimated that 20% of sexual abuse of children is perpetrated by women according to psychologist Dr Rebecca Deering, of Melbourne's Deakin University, who studied the issue of sexual abuse as part of her PhD.

Deering says "People spoke about having told someone earlier on in their lives and having either been mocked and denied that it was anything serious, or disbelieved."

“Sex abuse by women 'ignored'” Janelle Miles The Australian 02 May 2006,20867,19002872-1702,00.html

Note that it is necessary to look at definitions of sexual abuse of children. A sexual relation with a teenager under the age of consent would be included in the statistics. The age of consent varies amongst countries, eg 14 yrs and 16 yrs. Consensual sexual relations between a girl (or boy) of 15 yrs and 10 months and a boy (or girl) of 16yrs and five months could be regarded as sexual abuse if it was brought to the notice of authorities.

However, since these factors would apply to both genders, one would expect that they would cancel out.

Another factor is the degree to which reported incidences of child sexual abuse by women are ignored and thus not included in statistics, and whether this is taken into account when making the 20% estimate.

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