The current prevalence of child sexual abuse worldwide: a systematic review and meta-analysis
- 7k Downloads
Systematic reviews on prevalence estimates of child sexual abuse (CSA) worldwide included studies with adult participants referring on a period of abuse of about 50 years. Therefore we aimed to describe the current prevalence of CSA, taking into account geographical region, type of abuse, level of country development and research methods.
We included studies published between 2002 and 2009 that reported CSA in children below 18 years. We performed a random effects meta-analysis and analyzed moderator variables by meta-regression.
Fifty-five studies from 24 countries were included. According to four predefined types of sexual abuse, prevalence estimates ranged from 8 to 31 % for girls and 3 to 17 % for boys. Nine girls and 3 boys out of 100 are victims of forced intercourse. Heterogeneity between primary studies was high in all analyses.
Our results based on most recent data confirm results from previous reviews with adults. Surveys in children offer most recent estimates of CSA. Reducing heterogeneity between studies might be possible by standardized measures to make data more meaningful in international comparisons.
KeywordsChild sexual abuse International Epidemiology Prevalence Systematic review Meta-analysis
We thank Bruno da Costa for translating the article written in Portuguese and Elisabeth Kiraly for the one in Hungarian. We are grateful to all the experts around the world who took the time to respond to our request for additional information on CSA in their geographical region. A list of the people contacted can be obtained from the corresponding author. We would also like to thank the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) for providing the contact details of most of the experts. This study was initiated and funded by the UBS Optimus Foundation.
Conflict of interest
- Andrews G, Corry J, Slade T, Issakidis C, Swanston H (2004) Child sexual abuse. In: Ezzati M, Lopez D, Rodgers A, Murray CJL (eds) Comparative quantification of health risks, vol 2. World Health Organization, Geneva, pp 1850–1940Google Scholar
- Human Developmental Report (2009) http://hdr.undp.org/en/statistics/. Accessed 28 Aug 2009
- WHO (2004) WHO suggests guidelines for child and sexual abuse prevention and management in Africa (press release)Google Scholar
References of included studies
- *Aberle N, Ratkovic-Blazevic V, Mitrovic-Dittrich D, Coha R, Stoic A, Bublic J et al (2007) Emotional and physical abuse in family: survey among high school adolescents. Croat Med J 42:240–248Google Scholar
- *Chen J (2004) A retrospective survey in child sexual abuse among 565 university students. Chung-Hua Liu Hsing Ping Hsueh Tsa Chih. Chin J Epidemiol 25:873–877Google Scholar
- *Chen J, Dunne MP, Wang X (2003) Childhood sexual abuse, an investigation among 239 male high school students. Chin Mental Health J 17:345–347Google Scholar
- **Dassa SK, Douti NK, Kpanake L, Koti B, Kuchenhoff B (2005b) Typology of child maltreatment in Togo. Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie 156:240–246Google Scholar
- *Elbedour S, Abu-Bader S, Onwuegbuzie AJ, Abu-Rabia A, El-Aassam S (2006) The scope of sexual, physical, and psychological abuse in a Bedouin-Arab community of female adolescents: the interplay of racism, urbanization, polygamy, family honor, and the social marginalization of women. Child Abuse Negl 30:215–229. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2005.10.010 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Fabijanic S, Flander GB, Karlovic A (2002) Epidemiological study on the incidence of childhood abuse experiences among high school students of Sisacko-Moslavacka County. Paediatria Croatica 46:169–173Google Scholar
- *Hasnain N, Kumar D (2006) Psychological well-being of women reporting sexual abuse in childhood. J Indian Acad Appl Psychol 32:15–19Google Scholar
- *Leung PWS, Wong WCW, Chen WQ, Tang CSK (2008) Prevalence and determinants of child maltreatment among high school students in Southern China: a large scale school based survey. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Mental Health 2:27Google Scholar
- *Lien L, Rikard Haavet O, Thoresen M, Heyerdahl S, Bjertness E et al (2007) Mental health problems, negative life events, perceived pressure and the frequency of acute infections among adolescents—results from a cross-sectional, multicultural, population-based study. Acta Paediatr 96:301–306. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2007.00084.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Yang SC, Zhang YL, Huang GP, Guo GY (2004) A preliminary study on manner of child abuse. Chin J Clin Rehabil 8:2994–2995Google Scholar
- *Young A, Grey M, Abbey A, Boyd CJ, Mccabe SE (2008) Alcohol-related sexual assault victimization among adolescents: prevalence, characteristics, and correlates. J Stud Alcohol 69(1):39–48Google Scholar
- *Ystgaard M, Reinholdt NP, Husby J, Mehlum L (2003) Deliberate self harm in adolescents: results from the Norwegian part of the multi-centre study ‘Child and Adolescent Self-harm in Europe’ (CASE). J Norwegian Med Assoc 123:2241–2286Google Scholar
- *Zoroglu SS, Tuzun U, Sar V, Tutkun H, Savas HA, Ozturk M, Alyanak B, Kora ME (2003) Suicide attempt and self-mutilation among Turkish high school students in relation with abuse, neglect and dissociation. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 57:119–126. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2003.01088.x