While there is no universal definition of child sexual abuse, it is generally characterized by an adult abusing his or her dominant position to force or coerce a child into sexual activity that may or may not include intercourse. While the nature of the crime skews reporting statistics, an estimated 20 percent of American women and 5-16 percent of American men experienced some form of sexual abuse as children.
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If you are suspected of or have been charged with sexual abuse of a child, your freedom may be at stake. You may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney. Fill out the free, no-obligation form to connect with a local criminal defense lawyer today to get the answers and advice you’re looking for.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics
Studies have shown that sexual abuse of children is prevalent in all aspects of society, and does not discriminate against race, culture, or socioeconomic standing. Statistics show that females are more often the victims of sexual abuse, representing approximately 65-75 percent of cases. However, this statistic may be influenced by the reluctance of male victims to report abuse.
The majority of sex abusers are known to their victim. Sexual abuse commonly occurs within the family, or can be carried out by neighbors or family friends. Studies show that only 10-30 percent of sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by strangers. In 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is male.
Sentencing in Sexual Abuse Cases
Public opinion of accused child abusers is low, and as a result, judges and juries may provide harsh sentences. Sentencing laws vary from state to state, and generally depend upon the age of the child, the term of the alleged abuse, and the criminal history of the defendant.
Sentences may range from probation to several years in prison. In most states, a convicted sexual abuser will need to register as a sex offender. A local criminal defense attorney may be able to help navigate the laws and other determining factors guiding your case.
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The above summary of child sexual abuse laws and penalties is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on child sexual abuse laws, speak to a local criminal defense lawyer in your state.