1 in 14 adults suffered sexual abuse as children

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A new report suggests victims were unlikely to report sexual abuse until adulthood due to ’embarrassment or humiliation’.

One in 14 adults in England and Wales has been sexually abused, according to new findings from the Office of National Statistics.

According to this year’s British Crime Survey – results of which were released yesterday – 11 per cent of women and three per cent of men claimed to have subject to sexual abuse as minors.

1 in 14 adults suffered sexual abuse as children

The report also suggested that 567,000 women and 102,000 men age between 16 and 59 suffered “sexual assault by rape or penetration” as children.

Victims were highly unlikely to come forward or report the crimes before adulthood due to fear of “embarrassment or humiliation” or “thinking they would not be believed”.

The survey also found that the attackers were more likely to be a family member or friend, as opposed to a stranger or somebody outside of the family unit.

Previous studies have found that gay and bisexual men who were victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to engage in sexual behaviours that put them at higher risk of contracting HIV and are far more likely to face lifelong mental health problems.

Questions regarding sexual abuse against children were only added to the British Crime Survey this year, meaning many more people could have been effected by the issue.

“The sheer scale of those who reported witnessing or being abused as children is utterly staggering,” as spokesperson from children’s charity Barnardo’s said.

Labour MP Sarah Champion urged the government to take action following the results, in order to protect people from such crimes in future.

“We have to protect themselves from abuse,” she added.

The results come as Justice Lowell Goddard – the chair of the public inquiry into institutional child abuse – handed in her resignation yesterday, saying it was plagued by a “legacy of failure”.