A new study funded by Little Warriors and conducted at the University of Alberta has shed light on the prevalence and effects of child sexual abuse, as well as the need for programs that help adults recognize the signs that a child is being sexually abused.
The study, conducted by Erin Martin and Dr. Peter Silverstone of the Departments of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Alberta and published in the online academic journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, points to three key findings:
- Girls are more likely to be sexually abused than boys (15 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively). This estimate includes sexual abuse involving contact—not sexual abuse involving non-contact, such as exposure to pornography.
- It appears that more than 95 per cent of child sexual abuse cases are never reported to authorities and occur “below the surface.”
- There is an urgent need to develop and promote programs to help adults identify the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse.
To conduct this study, Martin and Silverstone looked at two key databases and conducted manual searches of the publications Child Sexual Abuse and Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, including articles from 1990 to 2012, and national incidence studies and prevalence studies.
To learn more about this study, please visit frontiersin.org
Other recent studies conducted by Silverstone, Martin and others include:
- Martin, E. and Silverstone, P. (2016). An Evidence-Based Education Program for Adults about Child Sexual Abuse (“Prevent It!”) that Significantly Improves Attitudes, Knowledge, and Behavior. Frontiers in Psychology.
- Greenspan, F., Moretzsohn, A. and Silverstone, P. (2013). What Treatments Are Available for Childhood Sexual Abuse, and How do They Compare? International Journal of Advances in Psychology (IJAP), vol. 2 (4).
To address the cultural gap in research and understanding of child sexual abuse within the Tamil community, ANBU conducted a Needs Assessment in 2018. Through the study, we sought to understand perceptions and knowledge of child sexual abuse within the Tamil diaspora in the Greater Toronto Area.
Click here to access and download our full report.