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One in four of girls (25%) and one in six boys (16%) in the UK are sexually abused before they reach the age of 16.

  • 1% per cent of children experienced sexual abuse by a parent or carer
  • Another 3% per cent by another relative during childhood.
  • 11% of children experience sexual abuse by people known but unrelated to them.
  • 5% of children experience sexual abuse by an adult stranger or someone they have just met.

Three-quarters of sexually abused children do not tell anyone about the abuse at the time, and around a third still have not told anyone about their experience(s) by early adulthood.
 (NSPCC Research: Cawson et al. 2000 Child Maltreatment in the UK:
A Study of the Prevalence of Child Abuse and Neglect).

Child sex abuse includes penetration of a child’s mouth, vagina or anus by a penis (rape), penetration by a part of abuser’s body or another object, sexual touching, masturbation, indecent exposure, use of children in or showing children pornographic films or pictures, encouraging or forcing children into prostitution or encouraging or forcing children to witness sexual acts (Sex Offences Act 2003).

More than 25 per cent of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16 years of age.
(Harris and Grace, 1999, A question of evidence?
Investigating and prosecuting rape in the 1990s, Home Office.)

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