Socialist Worker

Survey shows up extent of historic child abuse

by Sadie Robinson
Issue No. 2516

One in 14 adults in England and Wales suffered sexual abuse when they were children, according to figures released last week.

The Crime Survey for England and Wales revealed abuse taking place on a large scale over a long period of time.

Some 11 percent of women and 3 percent of men told the survey they had been sexually assaulted as children.

The report spoke to some 35,000 adults and 3,000 children.

New questions about childhood abuse were included in the survey for the first time.

Its findings suggested that 567,000 women aged between 16 and 59 had suffered “sexual assault by rape or penetration” as children.

The figure for men in the same age range was 102,000.

Some 30 percent said the perpetrators of these types of attacks were most likely to be a friend or acquaintance.

A further 26 percent were attacked by a family member. For other types of sexual assault, 42 percent said their attacker was a stranger.

The vast majority, some 75 percent, did not report sexual assaults at the time due to embarrassment, humiliation or fearing they would not be believed.

The figures emerged in the same week that the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse in public institutions plunged yet again into crisis.

Its chair, Dame Lowell Goddard, became the third chair to resign her position.


If you enjoy Socialist Worker, please consider giving to our annual appeal to make sure we can maintain and develop our online and print versions of Socialist Worker. Go here for details and to donate.

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.