New child abuse investigations
Child abuse occurs more frequently in families where the children do not live with their biological parents. Girls are more than twice as vulnerable as boys. Living with adoptive or half brothers also increases girls' risk of abuse. This is the result of a study that Dr. Katharina-Susann Müller at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Cologne. A survey revealed that about 80 percent of the affected girls and 40 percent of the boys shared their experiences with their parents or others. In addition, only every fifth reported case was reported to official bodies such as the police or youth welfare office. Only in two out of 138 cases did the abuse of the child also have consequences for the perpetrator. About one thousand 18- to 20-year-old men and women at various Cologne faculties and vocational schools were interviewed for the study. The psychologist included cases in which the age difference between the participants was at least five years and the victim was no older than 14 years "Image" under the term abuse. Other necessary criteria were that psychological pressure or physical violence had been used and that mental disorders had occurred as a result of the incident. The catalog of questions included detailed questions about oneself, questions about the family and their social and economic situation. Furthermore, the educational and professional situation of the parents was the subject of the questions and the habits of physical contact within the family. alt="
More than 20 percent of the women surveyed were sexually abused before the age of 14. For men it was just over eight percent. Every second female victim had to endure physical abuse, the others had to endure verbal harassment, exhibitionist depictions or pornographic films. Two thirds of the female victims experienced physical violence or psychological pressure. However, this only applies to a quarter of male victims. Both physical and psychological pressure leaves victims with permanent disorders. It is equally true for girls and boys that the closer they get to the offender, the more serious the abuse becomes. While the perpetrators of girls are almost exclusively male, a third of boys are still women.
Children are mainly victims of sexual abuse at the age of 10 years. If the victims are younger than 10 years of age, they are more likely to be abused by family members than by outsiders. In addition, there is often repeated abuse, which occurs just as frequently as one-off attacks.
The Cologne doctor found major differences in the victims' willingness to communicate after the crime. While four out of five girls who had been abused told their parents or friends and acquaintances about what they had experienced, only half as many boys reported the abuse that had taken place. Misunderstood masculinity and a greater sense of shame play a role here, as does the lack of a suitable contact person. In the absence of a confidant, many women also remain silent about the traumatic experience, but also out of fear of blame and their own shame. Only a small proportion of the victims reported their experiences immediately after the crime, and they usually wait six months or even a year before doing so. In these cases, there are usually no official reports or consequences for the perpetrator.
With regard to the social environment of the family, no major differences in the frequency of incidents can be identified. The likelihood of abuse does not appear to be related to parents' schooling or occupation. Also unrelated to child abuse is whether the mother is employed or stays at home as a housewife.
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