Statistics of Sexual Abuse

  • 1 out of 3 girls may be sexually abused before she turns 16 years old. Most of this abuse (90%) will be done by someone she knows and 70% will involve genital contact.

  • 1 in 7 boys may be sexually abused by adulthood.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 New Zealand women experience a serious sexual assault. For some women, this happens more than once.

  • For Maori girls and women the likelihood of sexual violence is nearly twice as high as the general population. Pacific and migrant women are also at statistically greater risk of sexual violence.

  • Young people are statistically at the highest risk of being sexually assaulted; the 16 – 24 year old age group is four times more likely to be sexually assaulted than any other age group.

  • People who are vulnerable in some way are also a more common target for sexual abuse, especially those with physical disabilities.

  • Research strongly demonstrates that physical and mental health problems resulting from sexual abuse and rape can be significant. Untreated impacts of abuse in childhood can continue to impact on survivors as adults in the form of depression, anxiety, impaired interpersonal relationships, parenting difficulties, eating difficulties, and/or drug and alcohol misuse to cope with strong feelings.

  • The long-term effects of sexual abuse on children have been correlated with almost every known mental health disorder and most of society’s ‘social problems’ such as early teenage pregnancy, single parenting and lifetime low social economic status.
  • Research points to a child’s home environment as a key factor in recovery. Early intervention of specialist services can make the difference between a family that is able to develop an emotionally safe home environment that both heals and prevents future abuse, versus a family that leaves a child isolated and vulnerable in dealing with the aftermath of the abuse.

  • People who seek counselling are better equipped and resourced to heal from their experiences and are less likely to suffer from more acute physical and mental health problems.