Sexually Assaulted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics

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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

This bulletin uses data from the National Household Survey of Adult Caretakers and the National Household Survey of Youth to provide information on the estimated number and characteristics of children who were sexually assaulted in the United States in 1999. The two surveys together make up the Second National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2).

In 1999, an estimated 285,400 children were victims of a sexual assault. The victims were disproportionately female (89 percent), and were typically between the ages of 12 and 17 (81 percent). Ninety-five percent of perpetrators were male. Almost three-quarters of children were assaulted by an acquaintance or someone they knew by sight; 18 percent were assaulted by a stranger, 10 percent by a family member. Twenty-nine percent of victims were assaulted by a youth age 17 or younger. Police were contacted in only 30 percent of cases regarding sexually assaulted children. Free, 12 pages.