GUEST VIEW: One in 10 will suffer sexual abuse before they turn 18

South Coast Today

April 20, 2019

By Michelle Loranger

The clergy sex abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church and the abuse of young women and girls at the highest level of amateur gymnastics have commanded most of the headlines.

But the reality of child sexual abuse most often strikes closer to home. And it happens across all racial and ethnic groups, all income classes, and in each and every state.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and the reality is that 90 percent of children who suffer sexual abuse do so at the hands of adults they love and trust — often members of their immediate or extended families.

Last year, the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County handled 815 cases — more than two new cases each day — most of which involved the sexual abuse of children. (The number also includes children who were physically abused, were witness to violence or victims of child trafficking). The annual caseload has more than doubled since the program opened its doors in 2007. And while exposure in the news media has helped more children get help than ever before, many cases of child abuse are unreported and untreated for years — if ever.

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