Child sexual abuse in the UK:
According to an important research study of 2869 young people (18-24) funded by the NSPCC (Pawson et al., 2000; May-Chahal & Pawson, 2005):
- 16% of the sample were sexually abused as children – 11% of boys & 21% of girls
- 6% of the sample considered themselves to have been sexually abused
In a more recent study (Child Abuse & Neglect in the UK Today) by Radford et al. (2011), the researchers conclude that they found:
Some encouraging evidence of a decline in some forms of childhood abuse reported by young adults:
- Childhood experiences of being beaten up or hit over and over again at home, in school or in the community declined from 6.6 per cent in 1998–9 to 4.3 per cent in 2009.
- Experiences of being slapped on the face, head or ears declined from 21.3 per cent in 1998–9 to 13.4 per cent in 2009.
- Experiences of regular physical treatment/discipline declined from 10 per cent in 1998–9 to 2.8 per cent in 2009.
- Coerced sexual acts under age 16 declined from 6.8 per cent in 1998–9 to 5 per cent in 2009.
They also found that:
There is still a substantial minority of children and young people today who are severely maltreated and experiencing abuse at home, in school and in the community, from adults and from peers.
Almost 1 in 5 11–17s (18.6%), 1 in 4 18–24s (25.3%) and 1 in 17 (5.9%) under 11s had experienced severe maltreatment during childhood.
– (Radford et al., 2011, p.117))
Importantly, they report that:
The high proportion of contact sexual abuse is perpetrated by under 18s (65.9 per cent) [which] demonstrates the need for effective prevention, public education and support for young people in negotiating respectful relationships.
– (Radford et al., 2011, p.120)