Any form of child sexual abuse is horrifying and life-changing, to say the least, not only for the victims, but also for their families. However, when the sexual abuse occurs at the hands of “trusted” family and community members, the psychological damage caused is often even greater.

Sadly, most instances of child sexual abuse are initiated by “trusted” family and community members (The Incidence and Prevalence of Intrafamilial and Extrafamilial Sexual Abuse of Female Children. Child Abuse and Neglect. Russell, D.E.H. 1983; Sexual Abuse: Counseling Issues and Concerns. Halliday, L. 1985; Child Abuse Trauma: Theory and Treatment of the Lasting Effects. Briere, J. 1992).

How prevalent is the sexual abuse of children among family members? While we cannot know for sure given that most instances of child sexual abuse, especially when it occurs by a family member, are not reported, we do know that it is very prevalent. In one study involving 1,000 subjects, 13% of child sexual abuse cases involved strangers. Of these offenses, 57% were committed by family members and 28% were committed by friends. (Sexual Abuse: Counseling Issues and Concerns. Halliday, L. 1985)

Given these frightening statistics, families must be ever-vigilant as “trusted” family and community members are even more difficult to identify given their status and relationship to the victim.

If you have been sexually abused by a “trusted” family or community member, or suspect your child has been, notify law enforcement and learn your legal rights by contacting the Law Offices of Robert M. Wilson. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation and completely private consultation.