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Children and Sexual Abuse

Technology and Child Sexual Abuse

Technology has created new avenues for perpetrators of sexual crimes to sexually abuse children. The best way to safeguard children against technology-based sexual abuse is to talk to your children about safety, including "sexting" (sending sexually explicit images of yourself over your phone or computer to a boyfriend or girlfriend) for tweens and teens, and to carefully monitor their computer and cell-phone use. Read more Internet safety tips on the FBI.gov Web site.

Children and Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act done to a child by an adult or another youth (when one youth exerts power over or manipulates another.). These acts include all forms of sexual contact including fondling, oral sex, intercourse and non-contact sexual acts including exhibitionism, exposure to pornography, voyeurism, and communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet.

In most cases of child sexual abuse, the child knows the perpetrator and the perpetrator has been going through a process of “grooming” the child and child’s family to build trust and secrecy. Child sexual abuse is a hidden but significant problem in every community in America. In Vermont, 346 children were substantiated as victims of sexual abuse by the Department for Children and Families in 2008 and 2009.

A Nationwide Problem

  • Nationally, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
  • Female children are at elevated risk of sexual assault in the context of domestic violence; girls whose fathers batter their mothers are 6.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted by their fathers than are girls from non-violent homes.

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