Statistics on Sexual Abuse in the United States

Statistics for Child and Teen Victims of Sexual Abuse

  • According to one study, 1 in 7 (13%) youth Internet users receive unwanted sexual solicitations, and 9% of youth Internet users have been exposed to distressing sexual material while online.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 youths receives sexual solicitation from a person trying to make offline contact.
  • The majority of juvenile victims questioned for an Internet-initiated sex crime survey met their predator in person. According to one survey, 93% of these encounters included sexual contact.
  • Children often do not report sexual abuse immediately due to fear of negative reactions or harm at the hands of their abuser.
  • When children do disclose, it tends to be to a friend or a sibling, not to an authority figure.
  • Historically, professionals have believed that children frequently report false accounts of sexual abuse. However, current research suggests that false allegations of sexual abuse are far less common than once thought; recantations of allegations are also uncommon.

Information and Statistics about perpetrators of child sexual abuse

  • An estimated 60% of perpetrators are non-family members that the child knows. About 30% of perpetrators are the child's family members, while the remaining 10% of perpetrators are strangers.
  • An estimated 23% of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18.
  • Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know About Sex Offenders (pdf)


Sources and References for information on Child Sexual Abuse in the United States

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Violence Prevention (2012). "Sexual Violence Data/Fact Sheet (2012)"

Center for Sex Offender Management (CSOM). (2012). "Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know About Sex Offenders"

The National Center for Victims of Crime. (2012). "Child Sexual Abuse Statistics."

United States Department of Justice, National Sex Offender Public Website (NSPOW), Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). (2015). "RAISING AWARENESS ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE: Facts and Statistics".

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