This section places child sexual abuse in the context of all forms of child abuse, using statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The bibliography notes what some researchers have written about the policy implications of their findings regarding male homosexual attraction to minors or man-boy sexual interaction.
Estimated U.S. victims of maltreatment:
Breakdown by types of maltreatment (totals more than 100% because some children suffered more than one type of abuse):
Rate of sexual abuse:
Estimated deaths due to maltreatment:
|Rates of abuse: Number of children per 1,000|
|Type of maltreatment||1995||1999||Change|
|Physical abuse||3.6||2.5||down 31%|
|Sexual abuse||1.9||1.3||down 32%|
|Medical neglect||0.6||0.4||down 33%|
|Type of maltreatment||Parent(s)||Parent & other||Relative||Care provider||Other or unknown|
Bullough, E.V.L. & Bullough, B., "Problems of research into adult/child sexual interaction"*, Issues In Child Abuse Accusations, vol. 8, no. 2, 1996.
Vern and Bonnie Bullough of the State University of New York write that historical data suggests that society may be challenging long tradition in banning adult-adolescent sexual interaction. Outlawing such behavior may be ineffective without a realization that new standards are being established, and without understanding how to overcome centuries of acceptance. In addition, they argue for a major effort concentrated on understanding the development of minor-attracted adults.
Feierman, J., "Human Erotic Age Orientation: A Conclusion," in Feierman, J. (ed.), Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990b, pp. 552-565.
Feierman decries the lack of mental health care available to men and adolescent boys who are attracted to younger minors. He writes that societal reaction prevents help which would avoid tragic incidents. He also examines the possible motives of those who promote the public labeling, ostracism, humiliation, and banishment of those who act on their attractions to minors.
Li, C.K., "Adult sexual experiences with children," in Li, C.K., West, D.J., & Woodhouse, T.P., Children’s sexual encounters with adults, London: Duckworth, pp. 139-316, 1990a.
Psychologist Chin-Keung Li argues that policies should make certain distinctions in order to be just.
Okami, P., "Sociopolitical Biases in the Contemporary Scientific Literature on Adult Human Sexual Behavior with Children and Adolescents," in Feierman, J., ed., Pedophilia: Biosocial Dimensions, New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990, pp. 91-121.
UCLA psychologist Paul Okami cites evidence that some current policies related to adult-minor sexual interaction damage children and society, sometimes more so than child sexual abuse.
Sandfort, T., Boys on their contacts with men: A study of sexually expressed friendships, New York: Global Academic Publishers, 1987.
University of Utrecht researcher Theodorus Sandfort briefly discusses the policy implications of his findings from his study of 25 boys involved in ongoing sexual relationships with men.
Tindall, R., "The Male Adolescent Involved With a Pederast Becomes an Adult," Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 3, no. 4, 1978, pp. 373-382.
Based on a 30-year longitudinal study of 9 adolescent boys involved in sexual relationships with men, psychologist Ralph Tindall recommends that the law recognize what actually happens in human sexual behavior in order to prevent trauma to the boys and their families.
West, D.J., "Boys and Sexual Abuse: An English Opinion," Archives of Sexual Behavior, Dec. 1998.
British criminologist Donald J. West notes dangers of both under-reacting and over-reacting to the issue of adult-minor sexual activity, and points out factors that impede the development and implementation of effective policies for dealing with the issue.
West, D.J. & Woodhouse, T.P., "Sexual encounters between boys and adults," in Li, C.K., West, D.J., & Woodhouse, T.P., Children’s sexual encounters with adults, London: Duckworth, pp. 3-137, 1990.
Based on their research, Donald J. West & T.P. Woodhouse write that current policies are based on the inaccurate assumption that all cases of sexual interaction between boys and adults resemble those found in clinical studies.
Wilson, G. & Cox, D., The Child-Lovers: A Study of Paedophiles in Society, London: Peter Owen Publishers, 1983.
British psychologists Glenn Wilson and David Cox argue that policies must protect children from both sexual exploitation by adults and trauma that can result from insensitive actions by legal authorities. They write that legal penalties for pedophilic behavior are not based on research findings.