Monday, September 28, 2009

Stats and Facts About Child Abuse... Sex Offenders... Post Traumatic Stress Disorder...

As someone that has worked in the human services area, I have been exposed to videos - during trainings - such as the following. They are tough to watch. But if we don't face the fact that these issues are real... and do what we can (as individuals and as a community) to educate, advocate and (where applicable) take the appropriate actions [I noticed, recently, that one of the Ward groups was going to address the topic of child sex offenders and child safety (Kudos!)] --- who will?

Viewer discretion advised:

["Stop Child abuse- Child abuse Awareness"; as submitted to You Tube by adeardurff092385 on April 14, 2008;]

Some (outdated but still pertinent) statistics:

"Early identification of sexual abuse victims appears to be crucial to the reduction of suffering of abused youth and to the establishment of support systems for assistance in pursuing appropriate psychological development and healthier adult functioning . As long as disclosure continues to be a problem for young victims, then fear, suffering, and psychological distress will, like the secret, remain with the victim" [Bagley, 1992; Bagley, 1991; Finkelhor et al. 1990; Whitlock & Gillman, 1989].

"Young girls who are forced to have sex are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders or abuse alcohol and drugs in adulthood, than girls who are not sexually abused. Sexual abuse was also more strongly linked with substance abuse than with psychiatric disorders. It was also suggested that sexual abuse may lead some girls to become sexually active at an earlier age and seek out older boyfriends who might, in turn, introduce them to drugs. Psychiatric disorders were from 2.6 to 3.3 times more common among women whose CSA included intercourse, and the risk of substance abuse was increased more than fourfold, according to the results. Family factors -- parental education, parenting behavior, family financial status, church attendance -- had little impact on the prevalence of psychiatric or substance abuse disorders among these women, the investigators observe. Similarly, parental psychopathology did not predict the association between CSA and later sychopathology" (Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., et al, Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, Archives of General Psychiatry 2000;57:953-959; Medscape (Review)]

"Adolescents with a history of sexual abuse are significantly more likely than their counterparts to engage in sexual behavior that puts them at risk for HIV infection, according to Dr. Larry K. Brown and associates, from Rhode Island Hospital, in Providence. Inconsistent condom use was three times more likely among youths who had been sexually abused than among the 55 who had not. A history of sexual abuse was also significantly associated with less impulse control and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. According to Dr. Brown, 'These results suggest two things. Abused kids need adequate counseling around abuse issues. A lot of these kids keep re-experiencing the anxiety and trauma for years.' The second issue, he said, is that 'most therapy does not address current sexual behavior' and the anxieties that sexually abused adolescents experience" (Larry K. Brown, M.D., et al, "American Journal of Psychiatry"; 2000;157:1413-1415).

As of 1992 (CCPCA), "approximately 95% of teenage prostitutes [reported having been] sexually abused."

"Long term effects of child abuse include fear, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, inappropriate sexual behavior, poor self esteem, tendency toward substance abuse and difficulty with close relationships" [Browne & Finkelhor, 1986].

As of 1991 (U.S. Department of Justice), "approximately 31% of women in prison state that they had been abused as children."

As of 1993 (Forward) there were reputedly an estimated "60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in America."

["Blue - an introduction - child abuse"; as submitted to You Tube by bleaux42 on March 29, 2007;]

"Sexual and Other Abuse May Alter a Brain Region..."

"Many women and men who have been subjected to severe physical or sexual abuse during childhood suffer from long-term disturbances of the psyche. They may be invaded by nightmares and flashbacks -- much like survivors of war -- or, conversely, may freeze into benumbed calm in situations of extreme stress. Two recent studies find that survivors of child abuse may also have a smaller hippocampus relative to control subjects. If substantiated, the discovery could fill out the profile of an abuse survivor and help define what constitutes abuse."

"Changes in the hippocampus--the part of the brain that deals with short-term memory and possibly the encoding and retrieval of long-term memory--could, researchers suggest, be wrought by hormones flooding the brain during and after a stressful episode."

"Dissociation and PTSD are not sharply separated and often alternate in the same individual. Dissociation, often employed by children who cannot escape from the threat of abuse, is a means of mentally withdrawing from a horrific situation by separating it from conscious awareness. The skill allows the victim to feel detached from the body or self, as if what is happening is not happening to her or him."

"David W. Foy of Pepperdine University notes that within days or weeks of a traumatic experience, therapy seems beneficial in dispelling PTSD. This period, Bremner speculates, could reflect the timescale over which the hippocampus organizes experiences into a person's worldview. Although some functions of the hippocampus are known, its mechanics are poorly understood."

"Psychiatrists contend that if repeatedly invoked in childhood, dissociation prevents memories from being integrated into consciousness and can lead to an altered sense of self. Many normal children play with imaginary companions; abused children can use such creative resources to a pathological extent, in extreme cases falling prey to multiple personality disorder (MPD). Adults may continue to use dissociation as a coping mechanism. Once dissociation or PTSD develops, the majority of psychological symptoms and the hormonal profile are very resistant to treatment" ("Scientific American," N.Y., (273: 4) 10/95, P. 14.)


"Sex Offenders...

"The typical child sex offender [My guess is that this number only pertains to serial pedophiles - but this is still huge...!] molests an average of 117 children, most of who do not report the offence" [National Institute of Mental Health, 1988; bold emphasis mine)].

"It is estimated that approximately 71% of child sex offenders are under 35 and knew the victim at least casually. About 80% of these individuals fall within normal intelligence ranges; 59% gain sexual access to their victims through, seduction or enticement" (Burgess & Groth, 1984).


"Survey Shows Dramatic Increase in Child Abuse and Neglect, 1986-1993... Excerpts from HHS Release, September 18, 1996...

The Department of Health and Human Services released a survey estimating that child abuse and neglect in the United States nearly doubled during the seven years between 1986 and 1993.

According to the HHS study, the number of total child maltreatment instances that were investigated by state agencies remained constant from 1986 to 1993; however, the percentage of cases investigated declined dramatically.

'It is shameful and startling to see that so many more children are in danger and that proportionately fewer incidents are investigated,' HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala said. 'Now states, schools, health care professionals -- all of us -- must commit ourselves to investigating and preventing child abuse with far greater effectiveness than we have seen in the past.'

The report estimated the number of abused and neglected children increased from 1.4 million in 1986, to over 2.8 million in 1993. The number of children who were seriously injured quadrupled from about 143,000 to nearly 570,000.

Schools identified the largest number of children at risk, yet state services investigated only 16 percent of these children. For the cases identified in the study, less than 50 percent of children identified as maltreated by any source (except law enforcement) were investigated by child protective services. [Bold emphasis mine].

Shalala said, 'We are giving states more flexibility, demanding more accountability and focusing on the only bottom line that matters: results.'

In regard to sexual victimization, the NIS survey concluded: Girls are sexually abused three times more often than boys; Boys have greater risk of emotional neglect & serious injury than girls.

The NIS is funded by HHS National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect and mandated by Congress. Previous NIS studies were released in 1981 and 1988."


Pertinent Links:

Child Abuse Research and Statistics:

Sex Abuse Bibliography and References:

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