The prevalence of abuse, harassment and assault in young lives
- Estimates indicate that one-quarter of all children are abused before they turn 16 (ref 1).
- Of 800 Atlantic Canadian girls surveyed, 29% reported having experienced some form of dating violence. While 22% had experienced an incident of psychological or physical abuse, another 19% had experienced sexual coercion (ref 2).
- Boys 4 -7 years of age were 3 times more often the victims of sexual abuse than boys of other ages (ref 3).
- In Canada, 75% of Aboriginal girls under 18 have been sexually abused (ref 4).
- A study involving over 600 elite athletes found half had experienced some form of harassment, whether sexual, physical, racial or verbal (ref 5).
- In Canada, 8% of students reported being bullied at least once a week (ref 6). One major study in Toronto schools found that a bullying act took place every seven minutes, and teachers were aware of only 4% of these incidents (ref 7).
Prevention does work!
- A survey of 2000 youth concluded that those who participated in school-based abuse prevention programs had greater knowledge about abuse issues, and were more likely to demonstrate protective behaviors, to seek help, and to understand that the maltreatment they suffered was not their fault (ref 8).
- In another study involving young females, researchers found that those who had NOT participated in a school-based prevention program were nearly twice as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse as young women who had participated in such a program (ref 9).
1. Based on an examination of numerous studies. (back)
2. Price, E. L., Byers, E. S., Sears, H. A., Whelan, J. Saint-Pierre, M. & The Dating Violence Research Team. 2000. Dating Violence Amongst Students in Grades 7, 9 and 11 in New Brunswick: A Summary of Two Studies. Fredericton: The Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, University of New Brunswick. (back)
3. The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect, Health Canada, 2001. (back)
4. Jiwant, Yasmin, PhD. (1998). The Girl Child: having to Fit. The FREDA Center for Research on Violence Against Women and Children. Accessed at http://www.harbour.sfu.ca/freda/articles/fit.htm (back)
5. Fairholm, J. (Ed.) (1998, January). Speak Out ... Act Now. A Guide to Preventing and Responding to Abuse and Harassment for Sport Clubs and Associations. Ottawa: Hockey Canada. (back)
6. Craig, W.M. and Pepler, D.J. Observations of bullying and victimization in the schoolyard. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, Vol. 13, (2), 1997, pp. 41-60. (back)
7. Voices for Children – Fact Sheet #15. “Bullying.” 2002. (back)
8. Finklehor, D., Asdigian N. and Dziuba-Leatherman, J. 1995. The effectiveness of victimization prevention instruction: An evaluation of chidren’s responses to actual threats and assaults. Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 19 (3) pp. 137-149. (back)
9. Gibson, Laura E., Leitenberg, Harold. 2000. Child sexual abuse prevention programs: Do they decrease the occurrence of child sexual abuse? Child Abuse & Neglect, Vol. 24 (9), pp.1115-1125. (back)