April 13, 2002
UK and US Statistics

A sample of research statistics carried out in the UK and US.

Prevalence of Sexual Abuse in a sample of 16-21 year olds.
Study by: Liz Kelly, Linda Regan and Sheila Burton (UK).

Sample group of students in further education.
1,224 students: 62% female, 17% from minority ethnic groups, 48 individuals reported some form of disability.

Definition of abuse used:
Any event/interaction which the young person reported as abusive/unwanted before the age of 18.

59% of women and 27% of men reported such an incident.

A more restrictive form of definition based on type of abuse resulted in:

21% of women and 7% of men reported abuse.


38% of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.

Diana Russell, et al., The Secret Trauma, 1986 (US)

16% of boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.

David Finkelhor, et al., Sexual Abuse in a National Survey, 1990 (US)


Of men born in England and Wales in 1953, 7 in 1,000 have a conviction of sexual offences against a child, by age 40

Marshall, 1997 (UK).
It is worth noting that this statistic, based on Home Office Figures, refers only to men, not women, born in 1953 who have been charged and convicted of an offence against a child. If you consider that only 5% of cases get reported and of that 5% only 35% lead to charges, then a truly staggering picture begins to emerge of massive unreported numbers of offences against children. Add together this fact and the statistics about the number of victim each offendor abuses and it becomes even more staggering. Listed below are also the figures for children on the AT Risk Register for the same period and clearly, many, many thousands of cases are going undetected...many children are being abandoned to deal with this abuse alone.

7 in every 10,000 girls and 5 in every 10,000 boys are placed on the Child Protection Register for sexual abuse.

Department of Health 1998 (UK)

The typical child sex offender molests an average of 117 children, most of who do not report the offence.

National Institute of Mental Health, 1988 (US).

On average men convicted of sexual offences against a child claim 5 or more undetected sexual assaults for which they were never apprehended or caught.

Groth, Hobson and Garry 1982; Elliot, Browne and Kilcoyne, 1995 (UK).

Of cases that do come to the attention of the police, only 35% of the offenders are charged, 5% receive a caution and for 56% there is no further action.

Prior, Glaser and Lynch, 1997 (UK).


In the adult retrospective study, victimization was reported by 27 % of the women and 16 % of the men. The median age for the occurrence of reported abuse was 9.9 for boys and 9.6 for girls. Victimization occurred before age eight for 22 % of boys and for 23 % of girls. Most of the abuse of both boys and girls was by offenders 10 or more years older than their victims. Girls were more likely than boys to disclose the abuse. Forty-two percent of the women and 33 % of the men reported never having disclosed the experience to anyone.

Finkelhor et al., 1990 (US).

90 to 95% of all sexual abuse cases go unreported to Police

National Victim Center handbook, 1991 (US)

Only 5% (of abuse cases in the study) were reported to any statutory agency- major reason fear of not being believed.

Liz Kelly, Linda Regan and Sheila Burton (UK).

Posted by paul at April 13, 2002 12:09 AM

Thank you for your infomation concerning the statistics, i am currently doing a report on child abuse and the abuse of power taken by people in positions where they can manipulate children and adults alike.
yours appreciately
Matthew Green.

Posted by: Matthew Green on January 30, 2003 02:47 PM

This is excellent work on very much needed information. Please can we have more?

Posted by: Morven on February 12, 2003 01:36 PM

This is a very much needed piece of research which validates and highlights the urgency of consideration and resource that is needed in this area. Also highlights the amount of support and education that is needed, and legislative and policy reassessment and it is good ammunition that we need in the fight against abuse in all its many forms. I cant wait to join you in your good work. There is much to be done.
All my best wishes for more success.

Posted by: Nicola Langridge on February 12, 2003 05:11 PM
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