Survey Finds One in Three Victims of Child Abuse is Male

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27th August 2014 12:27 - Education

New research findings released by the Barnardo’s charity has found that one in three victims of child sexual exploitation is a boy, suggesting the problem is deeper than has previously been thought. The findings, taken from analysis of more than 9,000 records of child exploitation, led Barnardo’s to state that schools need to educate male children on the dangers of grooming and exploitation.

The research was carried out by University College London, where it was found that of the 9,042 victims of child sexual exploitation since 2008 almost a third were male – a total of 2,986. These figures are for individuals aged between 8 and 17 years old who had previously been supported by Barnardo’s.

Prior to this, research has suggested that males account for a smaller percentage of young people affected by this kind of crime. For instance, in a 2012 report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England, only around a tenth (11%) of the 1,943 victims who provided their gender were boys. In 2011, a report for the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre found that 12.5% of the 2,083 victims were male.

Javed Khan, chief executive of Bernardo’s, stated that tell-tale signs of this kind of abuse were being missed due to ‘lack of awareness’ and ‘stereotypes about the nature of this form of abuse’ – it is ‘not just girls who fall victim to this horrendous crime.’

In a separate survey, the NSPCC recently published figures which suggest that around two thirds of 2,797 adults would fear having their intentions misunderstood or being falsely accused if they were to approach a child who looked lost. NSPCC director Peter Watt stated that society needs everyone to ‘understand that taking action is always the right thing to do.’

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