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"Once Can Hurt A Lifetime"

The Alliance for Children’s Justice is a statewide multi-disciplinary coalition of professionals and parents dedicated to eliminating the tragic sexual victimization of children in North Dakota.
Children and Abuse

10 – 13% of America’s children have been kicked, burned, bit, punched, hit with an object, beaten, or threatened with a gun or knife by a parent

10% of serious abuse cases also included severe terrorizing, humiliation, degradation, or threat of abandonment

21 – 32% of U.S. women were sexually abused before age 18
  Kilpatrick, 1996
Vogeltanz et al., 1999
National Women's Study N = 714 Cases
Age at time of Sexual Victimization

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
  Child sexual abuse is forced, tricked, or coerced sexual behavior between a child and someone older. Sexual abuse may consist of any one of the following acts: nudity, disrobing, genital exposure, observation of the child, kissing, fondling, masturbation, oral-genital contact, child pornography, digital penetration, and vaginal or anal intercourse.
  Conte, 1986
Thoringer et al., 1988
How Common Is Child Sexual Abuse?

1.8 million teenagers have been victims of sexual abuse

Approximately one in four girls and one in 10 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18

87% of child sexual abuse cases are never reported
  Kilpatrick & Saunders, 1997
Prevent Child Abuse America, 1999
Hanson, Resnick, Saunders,Kilpatrick & Best, 1999
Why Don't Children Tell?

Threats by perpetrator

Shame or embarrassment

Protect the perpetrator

Protect the family

Fear of family reaction

Fear of not being believed

Belief that they caused the abuse

Reporting is less likely if perpetrator is family member, uses threats, or is female
What About North Dakota?
As of April 2002, North Dakota had 1329 convicted sex offenders with 813 on the registered sex offenders list
15% of North Dakota teens report that they have been sexually abused
In a one year span there were 350 reports of suspected child sexual abuse in North Dakota
  N.D. Attorney General’s Office
Thompson, 2000
N.D. Dept. of Human Services
Who Are The Perpetrators?

93% of perpetrators are male, 7% are female

Between 30% and 50% of child molestations are perpetrated by adolescent males

Typical child sexual abuse offender molests an average of 117 children

70% - 90% of abuse victims know the perpetrator

38% of perpetrators use threats or physical force
  Crewdson, 1988
Becker, Kaplan, Cunningham-Rathner & Kavoussi, 1986
NIMH, 1998
Finkelhor, 1994
Vogeltanz et al., 1999
Who Are The Victims?

In North Dakota, 73% are females and 27% are males

Average age is 9 years

61% of abuse victims are first abused between the ages of 7 - 12

Disabled children are highly vulnerable
  ND Department of Human Services
Berliner & Elliot, 1996
Crewdson, 1988
NCCAN, 1993
What Happens to Children Who Have Been Sexually Abused?

Post-traumatic Stress


Anxiety Disorder

Extreme Anger

Substance Abuse/Addiction

Indiscriminate Sexual Behavior

Juvenile Delinquency

Gang Behavior

Eating Disorders

Self Mutilation

Multiple Personality

Sexual Dysfunction

Borderline Personality

  Briere & Elliot, 1994
Kendall-Tackett et. Al., 1993
Wonderlich et al., 1997
Medical Complications for SA at any Age

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Hysterectomy before Age 30

Increased Gynecological Problems

Loss of Consciousness



Gastrointestinal Problems

Back Pain

Loss of Voice

Reproductive Problems

  2/3 of teenage pregnancy fathered by men 20 or older

UND/NRI Child Maltreatment Project Impulsive and
Self Destructive Behavior (Ages 10 – 15)

UND/NRI Child Maltreatment Project
Eating Disorder/Purging (Ages 10 – 15)

UND/NRI Child Maltreatment Project
Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Ages 10 – 15)

Prevalence of Mental Health Care for Victims - 1991

3.1 to 4.7 million people in the U.S. receive mental health care for victimization


More than half of these are adults treated for previous child physical or sexual abuse
  Cohen & Miller, 1998
Total Value of Treatment Received by Victims of
Child Sexual Abuse in the U.S.A. - 1991
  Estimated Cost
Recent CSA 617 Million Dollars
CSA Years Earlier 4.024 Billion Dollars
  Cohen & Miller, 1998
Warning Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

Excessive masturbation

Enuresis (bedwetting)

Encopresis (fecal soiling)

Altered sleep patterns

Severe nightmares

Fears or phobias

Regression in developmental milestones

Learning problems

Explicit knowledge of sexual acts

Excessive curiosity about sex

Precocious sex play


Overly compulsive behavior

Clinging/whining to a particular parent - (non-abusive parent)

What Can I Do if I Believe a Child
Has Been Sexually Abused?

Believe the child

Remain calm – don’t show anger or shock – show normal concern

Praise the child for telling

Don’t promise the child you won’t tell anyone

Reassure the child that the abuse was not his/her fault

Don’t investigate or interview the child

Make sure the child is safe

Contact County Social Services
How Can I Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse


Educate others and encourage them to volunteer

Talk to your child about child sexual abuse

Donate time to your local crisis center

Offer financial support

Get involved in the North Dakota Plan for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

“Today I feel sad,
Tomorrow I may feel mad,
But whatever it is, I will always be glad
Because my dad is not doing
that bad stuff anymore.”

Local Ten-Year-Old Victim

Thank you for doing what you can to help our children grow up free from sexual abuse


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