FACT: Child sexual abuse often takes place under specific, often surprising circumstances.
It is helpful to know these circumstances because it allows for the development of strategies to avoid child sexual abuse.
81% of child sexual abuse incidents for all ages occur in one-perpetrator/one-child circumstances. Six to 11-year-old children are most likely (23%) to be abused in multiple-victim circumstances.
Most sexual abuse of children occurs in a residence, typically that of the victim or perpetrator – 84% for children under age 12, and 71% for children aged 12 to 17.
Sexual assaults on children are most likely to occur at 8 a.m., 12 p.m. and between 3 and 4 p.m. For older children, aged 12 to 17, there is also a peak in assaults in the late evening hours.
One in seven incidents of sexual assault perpetrated by juveniles occurs on school days in the after-school hours between 3 and 7 p.m., with a peak from 3 to 4 pm.
FACT: Abusers often form relationships with potential victims and their families prior to the abuse. This is called “grooming.”
Grooming is a process by which an offender gradually draws a victim into a sexual relationship and maintains that relationship in secrecy. At the same time, the offender may also fill roles within the victim’s family that make the offender trusted and valued.
Grooming behaviors can include:
Special attention, outings, and gifts
Isolating the child from others
Filling the child’s unmet needs
Filling needs and roles within the family
Treating the child as if he or she is older
Gradually crossing physical boundaries, and becoming increasingly intimate/sexual
Use of secrecy, blame, and threats to maintain control
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