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The Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Abuse & Its Impact on Child Victims. Aurelia Sands Belle, M.Ed., Presenter Capital District Coalition for Sex Offender Management and The Center for Sex Offender Management Albany, NY September 15-16, 2005. Myths About Victims of Sexual Assault.

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the incidence and prevalence of sexual abuse its impact on child victims
The Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Abuse & Its Impact on Child Victims

Aurelia Sands Belle, M.Ed., Presenter

Capital District Coalition for Sex Offender Management and

The Center for Sex Offender Management

Albany, NY

September 15-16, 2005

myths about victims of sexual assault
Myths About Victims of Sexual Assault
  • Victims are usually raped by a stranger in a dark alley.
  • Sexual assault is an impulsive crime of sex conducted by a sexually frustrated man.
  • Women “cry rape.”
  • Rape victims are young, sexy women who dress provocatively.
who are the victims
Who are the Victims?
  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement:
    • 67% of all victims of sexual assault were juveniles (under age of 18) at the time of the crime;
    • More than half of all juvenile victims were under age 12
who are the victims1
Who are the Victims?
  • 34% of all juvenile victims were under age 12
  • One of every seven (14%) victims of sexual assault reported to LE were under age 6

NCJ 182990

who are the victims continued
Who are the Victims?continued
  • The single age with the greatest proportion of sexual assault victims reported to police was age 14.
  • The risk of being the victim of forcible rape increased dramatically from age 10-14, where it peaked.
  • 4-year-olds were at greatest risk of being the victim of a sexual assault for victims under age 12.

NCJ 182990

findings
Findings
  • Rape in America
    • 62% of victims were under 18 years of age at first assault.
  • NVAW Survey
    • 22% of victims were under age 12 at first assault.
    • 32% of victims were between 12 and 17 years of age at first assault.
relationship between victim and offender rape in america study
Relationship Between Victim and Offender(Rape in America Study)

Kilpatrick, Edmunds, & Seymour, (1992). “Rape in America” A Report to the Nation”

relationship between victim and offender nvaw survey
Relationship Between Victim and Offender(NVAW Survey)

Known

Known

Tjaden & Thoennes, (1998). “Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women.”

findings cont
Findings (cont.)
  • National Survey of Adolescents
    • N = 4,023 adolescents in U.S. households (age 12-17).
    • 8.1% reported experiencing at least one sexual assault in their lifetime.
    • 1.8 million adolescents have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime (based on 1995 U.S. Census data).
slide12

Relationship Between Victim and Offender(National Survey of Adolescents)

•Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) -- perpetrators were someone the victim knew well.

• Almost 1 in 3 (32.5%) -- perpetrators were friends with the victim.

• More than 1 in 5 (23.2%) -- perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

• About 1 in 5 (21.1%) -- perpetrators were family members of the victim.

slide13

Location of Sexual Abuse(National Survey of Adolescents)

• 30.5% in the victim’s home.

• 23.8% in the victim’s neighborhood.

• 15.4% at the victim’s school.

slide14

Reporting of Sexual Abuse(National Survey of Adolescents)

• 86% NOT reported to the authorities.

• 13% reported to police.

• 5.8% reported to child protective services.

• 5% reported to school authorities.

• 1.3% reported to other authorities.

*Some cases were reported to more than one authority.

child victims of juvenile offenders
Child Victims of Juvenile Offenders

These child victims suffer severest forms of intimidation, harassment, and reprisal from juvenile offenders or their representatives

some immediate effects of sexual assault on child victims
Regressive Behaviors

Nightmares

Change in sleeping, eating

Poor School Function

Aggressive behavior

Clingy and Fearful

Anger

Denial/Wanting to forget

Shame & Embarrassment

Guilt & Self-blame

Some Immediate Effectsof Sexual Assault on Child Victims
slide19

Initial Mental Health Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Anger and hostility
  • Sexual behavior problems
  • Aggressive/delinquent behavior
  • Substance use/ abuse/dependency
  • Impaired social functioning
  • Distorted cognitive schemata
  • Impaired affective processing

From Saunders, (1999).

slide20

Long-term Mental Health Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual disorders
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Substance use/ abuse/dependency
  • Somatic complaints

From Saunders, (1999).

slide21

Long-term Mental Health Effects of Child Sexual Abuse continued

  • Personality disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Low self-esteem
  • Impaired social relationships
  • Increased vulnerability to other victimizations and traumatic experiences

From Saunders, (1999).

slide22

Other Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

  • Young adult survivors of child abuse who experienced a recent sexual victimization may also demonstrate ineffective or self destructive coping strategies such as overeating, avoidance behavior or taking prescription drugs.

From Arata, (1999).

slide23

Other Effects of Child Sexual Abuse (cont.)

  • Survivors of child sexual abuse are at an increased risk of:
    • becoming adjudicated juvenile delinquents, convicted felons, and abusers;
    • becoming re-victimized as battered women or sexual assault victims;
    • experiencing mental health problems; and
    • abusing alcohol and drugs as a means of coping with post traumatic stress disorder.

From Kilpatrick and Saunders, (1997) and Widom, (1992) .

effects of victimization
Effects of Victimization

Research has identified a significant link between childhood abuse and both future delinquency and adult criminal behavior.

victims major needs research findings
Victims’ Major NeedsResearch Findings
  • Information
  • Being believed
  • Not being blamed
victims most salient needs
Crisis Response

Emergency medical treatment

Mental Health services

Information about victim compensation

Information about the JJS and processes relevant to victims

Description of JJS “jargon”

Information about case & offender status

Victims’ Most Salient Needs
victim s most salient needs continued
Notice about key proceedings

Information about the offender’s FLOs (including restitution)

Guidance with Victim Impact Statements

Information about protection & personal safety

Information about JJS-supported and community-based victim services

Victim’s Most Salient Needs continued
slide29

Core Victims’ Rights:Notification

  • 63 possible points of notification (National Center for Victims of Crime) of status and location.
  • Confidentiality of victims’ requests for notification.
  • Efforts to keep victims informed and involved.
slide30

Core Victims’ Rights:Restitution and FLOs

  • First priority of fines, fees and penalties.
  • Restitution is key to accountability.
  • When the issue about “the offender’s ability to pay” is raised, “the victim’s ability to pay” must also be raised.
  • Providing assistance to victims in documenting short/long-term losses.
  • Sanctions for non-payment.
slide31

Core Victims’ Rights:Protection

  • Victims may not always express safety concerns -- you need to ask!
  • Offer all protective measures that apply.
  • Make sure victims have a 24/7 contact for any safety concerns.
  • Remember that victim information and notification contribute to victim safety!
slide32

Core Victims’ Rights:Input

  • Victim impact statements that offer insights into financial, emotional and physical losses.
  • Use of VIS and discussions with victims for offender case planning.
  • Continued opportunities for victim input is essential to victim safety and offender rehabilitation!