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1/3 of Child Sex Abusers Are Other Children

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on January 11, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Child sex abuse has always existed, but in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, it has renewed its status as a major issue of public concern. Parents have begun to fear teachers, coaches and babysitters. Legislators have responded with promises of tougher sentences and police vigilance.

But did you know that 35.6% of sex offenses committed against minors are also committed by minors? Approximately 1/3 of known cases of child sex abuse involve child-on-child sex abuse.

That number comes from a 2009 Justice Department-sponsored study that analyzed data from 29 states, explains the Associated Press. That study also concluded the following about child-on-child sex abuse:

  • 93% of offenders are male;
  • Offenders are mostly between the ages of 12 and 14;
  • 59% of their victims are younger than 12; and
  • 75% of those victims are female.

The good news? Approximately 85% to 95% of juvenile sex offenders never reoffend.

This may be the result of the reasons behind juveniles sex crimes. Only a small number "commit violent, premeditated acts of sexual assault and rape," according to the Associated Press. Many act out of curiosity, peer pressure or misinterpretation of interest. Some have developmental disorders that inhibit the ability to understand right from wrong.

Citing these motivations and the low recidivism rate, many youth advocates argue that the justice system should change the way it deals with child-on-child sex abuse. Juvenile sex offenders should be treated differently because so few of them become adult pedophiles.

Do you agree?

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