Little Warriors

Statistics & Research


» Canadian Statistics

» Prevalence: Overall
» Consequences – Individual
» Consequences – Societal
» Perpetrator Profiles

Recent Studies


Canadian Statistics

Prevalence: Overall

  • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience an unwanted sexual act.
    Source: Child Sexual Abuse (The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths), 1984. (pg. 175)
  • 4 out of 5 incidents of sexual abuse will occur before the age of 18.
    Source: Child Sexual Abuse (The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths), 1984. (pg. 175).
  • 95% of child sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator.
    Source: Child Sexual Abuse (The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths), 1984. (pg. 215-218).
  • Children and youth under 18 years of age are at greatest risk of being sexually assaulted by someone they know.
    Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Catalogue No. 85-224-XIE, ISSN 1480-7165. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2007. (pg 6, 21).
  • While children and youth under the age of 18 represent only one-fifth of the population, (21%) they were victims in 61% of all sexual offences reported to police in 2002. (A total of 8,800 sexual assaults against children and youth were reported to police, 2,863 of which were sexual assaults against children and youth by family members.)
    Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics – Statistics Canada Catalogue No. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 23. no. 6. Released July 2003. (pg. 7, 34)
  • In 2005, the rate of sexual assault against children and youth was over five times higher than for adults (206 children and youth victims compared to 39 adult victims for every 100,000 people.)
    Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Catalogue No. 85-224-XIE, ISSN 1480-7165. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2007. (pg. 20)
  • In 2005, girls under 18 years experienced rates of sexual assault that were almost four times higher than their male counterparts. (For every 100,000 young females there were 320 victims of sexual assault, compared to a rate of 86 male victims for every 100,000 young males.)
    Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Catalogue No. 85-224-XIE, ISSN 1480-7165. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2007. (pg. 21).
  • Sexual assault against children by family members was more then three times higher for female victims than for male victims (108 compared with 32 incidents per 100, 000 population). (Rates of sexual assault are higher for female victims than for male victims regardless of the relationship to the accused.)
    Source: Family Violence in Canada: A Statistical Profile 2007. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Catalogue No. 85-224-XIE, ISSN 1480-7165. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 2007. (pg. 22).
  • 54% of girls under 21 have experienced sexual abuse; (22% of these female victims reported two or more sexual offences.)
  • 31% of boys under 21 have experienced sexual abuse; (7% of these male victims reported two or more sexual offences.)
    Source: Child Sexual Abuse (The Canadian Badgley Royal Commission, Report on Sexual Offences Against Children and Youths), 1984. (pg 180).
  • 60% of all reported sexual assaults are against children.
    Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2001). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2001. Catalogue no. 85-224-XIE. Ottawa: Government of Canada (pg. 13)
  • 30-40% of sexual assault victims are abused by a family member.
    Non-parental relatives – 35%
    Friends and Peers – 15%
    Stepfathers – 13%
    Biological Fathers – 9%
    Other Acquaintances – 9%
    Boyfriend/Girlfriend of Biological Parent – 5%
    Biological Mother – 5%
    Source: Canadian Incidence Study (CIS) of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2003: Major Findings Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2005. (pg.52)
  • Very few cases (2%) of substantiated sexual abuse involve a stranger.
    Source: Canadian Incidence Study (CIS) of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2003: Major Findings Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2005. (pg.52)
  • Child and youth victims who were sexually assaulted by family members were on average 9 years old compared to 12 years old for victims of non-family members.
    Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. (2002). Family violence in Canada: A statistical profile 2002. Catalogue no. 85-224-XIE. Ottawa: Government of Canada (pg. 35).
  • 64% of sexual offences reported to police took place in a residence
    26% took place in public and open areas, and
    11% took place in commercial places.

    Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics – Statistics Canada Catalogue No. 85-002-XIE, Vol. 23. no. 6. Released July 2003 (pg. 9)
  • Boys 4-7 years of age were 3 times more often the victims of sexual abuse than boys of other ages.
  • Girls aged 4-7 and 12-17 were twice as likely to be victims of sexual abuse as girls aged 0-3 and 8-11.
    Source: The Juristat presents Child Maltreatment in Canada – Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect. Authors: Nico Trocmé and David Wolfe. Ottawa, Ontario: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2001. (pg. 24)

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Consequences – Individual

  • 70% of sexual abuse survivors report excessive use of drugs & alcohol.
    Source: Darkness to Light
  • 60% of women with panic disorder are victims of child sexual abuse.
    Source: Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry: Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 2007
  • 76% of prostitutes have a history of child sexual abuse.
    Source: Health Canada, Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, Information from the National Clearinghouse on Family Violence, 1993
  • Child victims of sexual abuse have been found to display a wide range of symptomology, such as: low self-esteem, guilt, self blame, social withdrawal, marital and family problems, depression, somatic complaints, difficulties with sexuality, eroticized behaviour and irrational fears.
    Source: C. Cahill, S. Llewelyn & C. Pearson (1991). Longterm Effects of Sexual Abuse Which Occurred in Childhood: Review. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 30: 117-130
  • There has been retrospective correlation of psychiatric disorders in adulthood with unwanted childhood sexual experiences.
    Source: R.L. Palmer, D.A. Chaloner &R. Oppenheimer (1992). Childhood Sexual Experiences with Adults Reported by Female Psychiatric Outpatients. British Journal of Psychiatry, 160: 261-5.
  • The long-term consequences of childhood sexual experiences with adults have been demonstrated to include, anxiety, deliberate self-harm, depression, difficulties in interpersonal relationships, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, prostitution, and sexual dysfunction.
    Source: R.L. Palmer, D.A. Chaloner &R. Oppenheimer (1992). Childhood Sexual Experiences with Adults Reported by Female Psychiatric Outpatients. British Journal of Psychiatry, 160: 261-5.
  • Women who reported sexual abuse histories were more likely to report suicidal ideation at the time of hospitalization and a history of multiple suicide attempts.
    Source: Preliminary Report on Childhood Sexual Abuse, Suicidal Ideation, and Suicide Attempts Among Middle-Aged and Older Depressed. Nancy Talbot, Paul Duberstein, Christopher Cox, Diane Denning, Yeates Conwell. Accepted April 8, 2003. From the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

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Consequences – Societal

Although it is not possible to measure the personal and social costs of sexual abuse and exploitation of children and youth, most people would agree they are enormous. There are also financial costs to society as a whole. According to the Day model, which measures the judicial, social services, education, health, employment and personal costs of violence:

The total costs of child abuse (including child sexual abuse) are estimated to be $15,705,910,947 annually.

Costs of Child Abuse in Canada
Judicial
$616,685,247
Social Services
$1,178,062,222
Education
$23,882,994
Health
$222,570,517
Employment
$1,299,601,383
Personal
$2,365,107,683
TOTAL
$15, 705,910,047

Source: Audra Bowlus, Katharine McKenna, Tanis Day and David Right, The Economic Costs and Consequences of Child Abuse in Canada (Ottawa: Law Commission of Canada, 2003). Found on Department of Justice Canada Website (article titled: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Youth: A Fact Sheet from the Department of Justice Canada)

The estimated annual cost of child sexual abuse in Canada exceeds $3.6 billion CAD. Each youth suicide costs $640,000 to $3,000,000. 
Source: Hankivsky, O. (2003, forthcoming). Preliminary cost estimates of child sexual abuse Canada. Ottawa, ON: Health Canada.

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Perpetrator Profiles

  • At the national level, between 15% and 33% of all sex offences in Canada are committed by persons under 21 years of age.
  • Prison statistics demonstrate that one in seven of those imprisoned for sexual offences against children was under the age of 21.
    Source: Adolescent Sex Offenders. (1997) National Clearinghouse on Family Violence. Cat. H72-22/3-1997E. ISBN 0-662-18255-3. (pg. 2)
  • Some offenders have abused more than 70 children before any of the victims disclose their abuse. In cases in which one offender has abused a larger number of victims, the abused children are more likely to be male.
    Source: Child Youth Mental Services, British Columbia Ministry of Health, Multiple Victim Child Sexual Abuse: The impact on Communities and Implications for the Intervention Planning, Ottawa: Health Canada, Supply and Services Canada, 1994 (pg. 6)

Recent Studies

What Treatments are Available for Childhood Sexual Abuse, and How do They Compare? 
Farrel Greenspan, Andreia G. Moretzsohn, Peter H. Silverstone

Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta 8440‐112 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2B7 Published  in the International Journal of Advances in Psychology (IJAP) Volume 2 Issue 4, November 2013

95% Of Child Sexual Abuse Cases Go Unreported

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.

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 has highlighted three key findings as a result of the study.

  • The study finds that girls are more likely to be sexually abused than boys (15% and 6% respectively). This estimate includes sexual abuse involving contact and not sexual abuse involving non-contact, such as exposure to pornography.
  • It appears that more than 95% of cases are never reported to authorities and occur “below the surface.”
  • Programs to help adults identify the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse need urgently to be developed and promoted.

“Child sexual abuse is an epidemic that is affecting more children than we know,” said Glori Meldrum, founder and chair of Little Warriors. “We hope that a study like this will make more people understand the need for the services we provide.”

To conduct this study, researchers 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.

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