Aim To study the profile of child and teenage alleged child sex offenders and their relation to their victim.
Background Child sexual abuse (CSA) can leave a negative experience on victims. In one study 1, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 10 boys reported sexual abuse at least once in their lifetime. 6% of girls and 1% boys report penetration the most severe form of CSA. About 1/3 of abusers were adolescents and were in the victims' peer group.
Method Retrospective review of consultants' medical reports over a 10 year period.
Results In a study of 172 cases of CSA over a 10 year period, in 42 (25% of the total) the alleged perpetrator was aged 19 or under (median age 14). Table 1 below shows the relationship between the age of the perpetrator and the gender of the victim.
The victims in these 42 cases were predominantly white (35 / 42). There were 4 dual heritage, 2 black and 1 Asian child.
There was a clear pattern in the relationship between the ages of the perpetrators and their victims (table 2).
In more than half the cases the alleged abuser was a family member. Total stranger abuse was in fact rare (table 3)
Conclusion This study showed that in cases of CSA a quarter of alleged abusers are themselves children or adolescents. More than half were related, and the others were known, to the victim and/or family.
Recommendations Keep-safe messages should emphasise the risk or peer abuse from family members and those known to the child.
Child and adolescent molesters need to receive appropriate counselling to reduce reoffending and to prevent them graduating into adults posing risk to children
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