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Definition and Statistics

What is sexual assault or abuse?
Sexual assault or abuse is being forced, tricked or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity including rape, exposure, fondling, pornography, incest, sexual harassment and sex crimes against children involving the internet.


  • Sexual abuse can occur at all ages.
  • More than 67% of all sexual abuse victims are under 17.
  • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 5 children receive a sexual solicitation while on the Internet.
  • The median age for child sexual abuse is 9 years old.
  • 93% of sexual abuse victims are abused by someone they know.
  • Over 30% of victims never disclose the abuse to anyone.

Warning signs / General Indicators
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has acknowledged child sexual abuse as a health epidemic. Wisconsin spends $8.7 million dollars annually trying to protect children from abuse and 98 times as much to repair the damage done. The consequences to children and society are high if we do not act. To truly impact sexual assault and abuse in our communities we must shift the responsibility of protecting children onto the shoulders of adult, thereby creating greater awareness of the warning signs and how to recognize and respond appropriately. Prevention efforts that begin in childhood can give families a lifetime free from sexual abuse. You can make a difference in keeping our community safe.