Child Sexual Abuse in Europe
Sexual abuse of a child comprises range of behaviours that engage a child in sexual activities, such as: physical contact (sexual penetration, touch), sexual exposure (exhibitionism, presenting pornography), sexual commercial exploitation (child prostitution and child pornography). Sexual abuse of children takes place mainly within families, institutions, among peers and on the Internet.
Obtaining reliable data on the scale of child sexual abuse is very hard. Reasons for that include children not being able to disclose abuse due to young age or disabilities, and children not disclosing abuse because of fear, the need to protect the offender or active defensive mechanisms. Abuse can also be concealed, especially if it occurs within family. In relatively low number of cases, child’s disclosure of abuse goes unreported.
As data kept by the police and courts do not reflect the scale of the problem, retrospective research in which respondents are asked about their childhood is a valuable source of information. Data gathered through such research points to much bigger scale of the child sexual abuse. However, it is likely to be an underestimate too. Comparing data collected through separate studies is also problematic, as such studies vary in definitions, methodology and sample of population (mainly in age).
Meta-analysis of research on the scale of sexual abuse conducted in European countries show that one in five children in Europe falls victim to sexual abuse. According to the analysis of retrospective research conducted in 24 European countries, around 6-36% of women and 1% -15% of men stated that they were abused before reaching age of 16 (Lampe 2002). Other meta-analysis points to similar figures (May-Chahal, Herczog 2003; Lalor, McElvaney 2012).
Research conducted on the representative sample of Polish people over 15 show that 11%-16% of women and 6%-18% of men were sexually abused by adults before reaching age of 15 (Lew-Starowicz 2002, Sajkowska 2001, 2009, 2010).
The nationwide diagnosis of violence against children carried out by the Nobody’s Children Foundation showed that 12% of teenagers in the 11-17 age group fall victim to at least one form of sexual abuse. Girls (19%) become victims more often than boys (9%).
It is estimated that in 80% of cases the child knows the abuser.
Submitted by admin on Wed, 2015-07-22 12:31.