June 12, 2018

Getting to the root of child-on-child abuse

It has been estimated that one-third(1) to 66%(2) of all perpetrators of child sexual abuse are children themselves (i.e. persons 17-years-old or younger).

Child-on-child sexual abuse (CCSA) frequently occurs at school (e.g. in bathrooms, locker rooms, bathrooms, and other places where children are left unsupervised). It also occurs with the family environment.

Researchers are still scrambling to get data on this chronically underreported crime. But we, like you, started asking the tough questions: WHY? Why would children act out in sexually harmful ways on other children?

The answer is multi-faceted, but over recent years as we’ve prepared to launch the Out of the Shadows campaign about child-on-child sexual abuse, we’ve found a key trend that is vital to highlight: PORNOGRAPHY.

In nearly every story we hear, the child who sexually harmed another child was exposed to pornography. Children are especially vulnerable to the harms of pornography, not only on the brain, but also on their sexual development. Pornography exposes children to ideas that violent or coercive sex is normal – many of these children are first learning about sexuality through pornography.

Is it any wonder, that some of these children begin to “act out” what they see in pornography?

As we’ve gathered the research on the public harms of pornography over the years, the impact of pornography on child-on-child sexual behavior is perhaps the most compelling, and tragic, harm that we’ve found.

Will you help us share this reality on the national stage?

June 30th is the end of our fiscal year, and we need to know you support our work on this cause as we set our plans for the next year on this initiative and our other effective projects.

If you give $100 or more, you will become a Founding Supporter of our Out of the Shadows Campaign Against Child Sexual Abuse! Your name will be recognized on our campaign, and you will receive a special invitation to the national symposium in Washington DC this October.

Please donate what you can today to bring this harm of pornography out of the shadows.



(1)Howard Snyder, “Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics. A NIBRS Statistical Report.” (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, Report #NCJ-182990, 2000).

(2)Lorraine Radford, Susana Corral, Christine Bradley, et al., Child Abuse and Neglect in the UK Today (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, n.d.) https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/child-abuse-neglect-uk-today-research-report.pdf (accessed May 7, 2018).

Further Reading