WHO SEXUALLY ABUSES CHILDREN?
Top 5 Child Sexual Abusers in Pennsylvania*:
- Brothers and Sisters
- Parent's boyfriend/girlfriend
- Other household member
NOTE: Sexual abuse committed by "strangers" was less than 1%)
(*According to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's 2007 Annual Child Abuse Report of substantiated child sexual abuse)
Child sexual abusers are members of all economic, social, cultural and age groups. Abusers look just like you or me. They are usually male, but women also sexually abuse children. The vast majority of
child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child knows — someone who has easy and frequent access to the child, someone the family trusts. Abusers are most often family members, friends of the family, and babysitters. Most perpetrators are men, but some are women. Occasionally, couples will jointly abuse children.
Many times, only one is a child sexual abuser while the other knowingly keeps silent, often under threat of violence. Recent attention has focused on increasing reports of adolescents abusing younger children — usually siblings, cousins or children in the neighborhood. Many child sexual abusers were sexually abused when they were children. And so the cycle continues...
Children may experience sexual abuse at the hand of a stranger, but this is the exception rather than the rule.
What is the HERO Project?
HERO, a project of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, is a community-based, media-driven, child sexual abuse prevention program designed to educate and motivate adult community members to call the 24-hour HERO Hotline if they suspect child sexual abuse.