Gender Stat: child sexual abuse

Publication year


Publication Author

Aine Duggan, Gail Cooper, Rosa Cho, Sudha Rao

No two estimates of the incidence and prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) are the same. Reporting institutions and research studies vary greatly, including by the terms and definitions they use, types of violence analyzed and populations studied (age, gender, sexual identity, location, etc.). This installment of Gender Stat references the major government agencies that collect national statistics on CSA.

Disclosure is a built-in assumption of these reporting mechanisms. That is, these agencies’ statistics are based on cases that have been officially reported and are moving through an official findings process. Because so much CSA goes unreported, over the past two decades, researchers have been using prevalence or adult retrospective studies, which ask adults to discuss details about their childhood experiences. This approach provides opportunities for adults to disclose histories of CSA and serves to enrich the overall data pool on the topic.

The data in this Gender Stat includes information from the agencies noted above as well as analysis, studies, briefs and fact sheets from research, policy and advocacy organizations. Their information comes from national statistics and research projects of varying sizes.