The majority of child sexual abuse
by family members. U.S. Health and Human Services reported in 2006 that 30% of men who sexually abuse children are step-fathers, 24% are adoptive fathers, and 20% are mothers' boyfriends. Biological fathers account for 7% and fathers who have both biological and step children in the home account for another 7%.The remaining 12% of male offenders are community members.
- Ministers and clergy
- Daycare providers
These are people that parents trust and allow to have access to their children. These are people that children are taught to trust.
If a child discloses abuse by one of these community members, mothers may experience initial denial and doubt and struggle with ambivalence regarding disclosure. They may fear publicity, possible backlash associated with reporting a known community member, and possible reaction of friends and family. Fear can influence decisions.
As in all disclosures of sexual abuse, it is important to remember that belief is the most important gift you give your child. Regardless of the consequences, if you act on the report and follow through with protection, your child will experience fewer consequences of the abuse. The mother's belief and support is critical to the victim's recovery.
The logistical and emotional consequences of reporting teachers, neighbors, or pastor are significant. Some community members, such as daycare providers, may engender less emotional resistance to reporting. Gather support, call the appropriate agency, and report the abuse.
Remember: child victims almost never lie about sexual abuse. Telling is one of the most difficult and risky thing that your child can do. If your child has been abused by a community member, many more have probably been abused as well.