The most likely victims of sexual abuse by far remain young children, reports the Denver Post. A review of about 55,000 reported cases of rape and sex assault in 2004 shows that nearly 67 percent of all sex victims are 17 and younger, and 30 percent are 11 and younger. The Post analyzed reported violent crime data submitted to the FBI by participating police agencies in 25 states. The FBI’s database results from a voluntary program called the National Incident Based Reporting System. The NIBRS data provide a rare statistical glimpse of a large number of reported sex assaults.
There is no simple fix to the problem of childhood sex abuse. “Most people don’t know about these statistics,” said Victoria Strong of the Front Range Center for Assault Prevention, which contracts with about 20 area schools to provide sex-abuse prevention education. Strong and other experts say that while it is common for adults to warn children about the very rare danger of stranger abduction, most perpetrators are trusted relatives, friends, teachers, coaches and clergy. Older siblings or cousins also can be abusers. Even the best prevention education for young children isn’t enough. Many states require teachers and school officials to report any claims of sex abuse from children. Only an estimated 60 percent of the nation’s elementary schools are providing some type of sex-abuse prevention education. Says one expert: “Some do a puppet show, which is charming, but it is not prevention.”