Understand the Issue


PERPETRATORS: We know them, our children know them

Despite what we might have learned as children ourselves, only ten percent of child sexual abuse cases involve strangers. The fact is, ninety percent of the time a child knows his or her assailant.

Tragically, thirty percent of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by family members. Parents and step-parents. Uncles and aunts. Grandparents and cousins.

Children may like or love, confide in or admire family members who abuse them as much as they despise being molested by them.

In sixty percent of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is a trusted adult known to the child and parents. Babysitters and child care providers. Neighbors and camp leaders. Youth ministers and coaches. Friends of the family and significant others.

Children see these persons as adults who have their parent’s approval, and who have some degree of authority over them. They are also persons who might have the opportunity for unsupervised time with children.

To a lesser extent, perpetrators are older children acting out sexually – often as a result of abuse they have encountered themselves. They can be older step-siblings, older friends, cousins, older friends of friends, etc.

So, teaching children to be wary of strangers is not enough.


What’s Helpful

What’s helpful is for adults to fully understand the issue: Child sexual abuse is committed by adults or children who are familiar personally or casually, who take advantage of alone time with children and who have some authority over them.

Perpetrators need access, alone time, and authority. Once adults are aware of this reality, they can view the world through this filter when necessary, and ask the right questions of themselves and others about the safety of children.

Thank you.

Your awareness goes a long way in helping us bring child sexual abuse in our area to… zero.


I Need To Report