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Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse--Later Criminal Consequences, Research in Brief

NCJ Number
151525
Author(s)
Cathy S. Widom
Date Published
1995
Length
8 pages
Publication Series
Annotation
This article examines the criminal consequences in adulthood of childhood sexual abuse.
Abstract
The article focused on three questions: (1) Does sexual abuse--more than other forms of childhood victimization--make people more likely to become involved in delinquent and criminal behavior later in life? (2) Does sexual abuse during childhood make it more likely that these victims will be charged with a sex crime as an adult? and (3) Is there a pathway from being sexually abused as a child, to running away as a juvenile, to being arrested for prostitution as an adult? The study found that: (1) Adults who were sexually victimized during childhood are at higher risk of arrest for committing crimes, including sex crimes, than are those who did not suffer sexual or physical abuse or neglect during childhood. However, the risk is no higher than for victims of other types of childhood abuse and neglect; (2) Compared to victims of childhood physical abuse and neglect, victims of childhood sexual abuse are at greater risk of being arrested for one type of sex crime--prostitution; (3) For the specific sex crimes of rape and sodomy, victims of physical abuse tended to be at greater risk for committing those crimes than were sexual abuse victims and people who had not been victimized; and (4) What might seem to be a logical progression from childhood sexual abuse to running away to prostitution was not borne out. Tables, notes

Date Published: January 1, 1995