Sex-Abuse Training in Schools

A recent article in the Huffington Post by Evie Blad posted on April 4th and coming from Education Week is something near and dear to my heart, More States Are Requiring Sex-Abuse Training in Schools.

If you wish to read the article in its entirety, see: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/04/erins-law-sex-abuse-training_n_5091597.html?utm_hp_ref=chicago&ir=Chicago

Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:

· 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;

· Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;

· During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;

· Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;

· Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

Experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities. Here are more alarming stats according to Child Help USA at : www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/

Child Abuse in America

Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. 

While the stats below are for child abuse in general they point out that 9.3% of their figures are for child sexual abuse.

General Statistics

  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
  • More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse.1
  • It is estimated that between 50-60% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 3
  • Approximately 70% of children that die from abuse are under the age of 4. 1
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. 4
  • Child abuse occurs at every socioeconomic level, across ethnic and cultural lines, within all religions and at all levels of education.
  • About 30% of abused and neglected children will later abuse their own children, continuing the horrible cycle of abuse. 5
  • In at least one study, about 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder. 13
  • The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2008 is $124 billion.

Child Abuse & Criminal Behavior

  • 14% of all men in prison and 36% of women in prison in the USA were abused as children, about twice the frequency seen in the general population. 7
  • Children who experience child abuse & neglect are about 9 times more likely to become involved in criminal activity. 5

Child Abuse Consequences

  • Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy. 5
  • Abused teens are more likely to engage in sexual risk taking, putting them at greater risk for STDs. 5

Child Abuse & Substance Abuse

  • One-third to two-thirds of child maltreatment cases involve substance use to some degree. 11
  • In one study, children whose parents abuse alcohol and other drugs were three times more likely to be abused and more than four times more likely to be neglected than children from non-abusing families. 11
  • As many as two-thirds of the people in treatment for drug abuse reported being abused or neglected as children. 9
  • More than a third of adolescents with a report of abuse or neglect will have a substance use disorder before their 18th birthday, three times as likely as those without a report of abuse or neglect.12

We are talking common sense here. Shall we stand by and do nothing? Are our children not the most important resource we have? The figure I find most shocking is the one regarding women in prison who were abused as children. It stands at 36%!!! And the numbers are increasing as the years go by, not decreasing. We must all stand together so that none must stand alone! Contact your local congress person and senator and tell them you want Erin’s Law or some version of it passed in your state.

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