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Why Are Some Children Becoming Sexual Predators?

Ending Sexploitation

Release Date: 02/03/2017

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An Alabama child advocacy group called Palmer Place recently reported an increase in child-on-child sex abuse cases, and they believe it was brought on by a growing addiction to pornography among children.

How can we better understand the phenomenon of children who sexually abuse other children, and how can we intervene?

One 2015 study by Dr. Cathy Humphreys, and others, explored this question by sampling a broad range of research and literature on the issue.

 In this study—published in the Health & Social Care in the Community Journal—they identified a few key areas that are vital to understand on this topic, and today we’ll cover the Characteristics, the Causes, and the preventative Communications.

1) Characteristics

A 2009 national survey analyzed data from 13,471 cases of sexually abusive behavior. They found that there was an escalation in sexual abuse offending at the age of 12 years.

Case records of 700 young abusers in the United Kingdom found that 38% had intellectual difficulties. A 2013 study found that 97% of minors who’ve sexually abused other minors were male. 

When it comes to pornography use, a 2011 longitudinal study of 1,588 US households found that minors who intentionally watched violent pornography over time predicted a six-fold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually abusive behavior for both boys and girls.

2) Causes

A (2000) life history analysis of two boys who sexually abused children showed trends of hegemonic masculinity.

Unfortunately, another reason some people may abuse others is because they themselves experienced sexual abuse. 

A 2012 longitudinal study examined 2,759 records of children who had been sexually abused between 1964 and 1995. They found that 5% of male victims were later convicted of a sexual offense compared to 0.6% of males in the general population.

3) Communication

Sexual abuse prevention education is found in intentional teaching sessions to raise children’s awareness about sexual abuse, and to provide them with tools for how to respond if abused.

There are two major sites for this kind of education: school–child communication and parent–child communication.

 

TAKE ACTION:

First, can talk to your local school and inquire what prevention strategies they have for both on school grounds and if they use any curriculum to try and prevention child abuse.

Second, talk with the children in your life about. 6 year olds, and those younger, can benefit from simple conversations about how “no mean no” and to come speak to a trusted adult if anyone ever hurts them or makes them feel uncomfortable. Also, it’s important to speak to all children about the harms of pornography, and to create a trusting environment where they can express their questions about sexuality or what they might have seen in pornography.