Thirteen-year-old girl, forced to perform oral sex on man in a basement apartment. Female teen girl, forced to have sex with him in his car while driving. Female teen girl, tried to fight off her attacker. Two more girls, aged 13 and 18, sexually assaulted by the same man. A lot of teens are sexually abused by someone they trust, whether it’s a family member, acquaintance, or a daycare worker or babysitter.
In today’s society, victims don’t always report these crimes to authorities—especially when the perpetrator is a coworker or family member.
When the National Crime Victimization Survey collected reports of sexual abuse in 2015 from 12,003 participants, more than half of victims between 13 and 17 years old reported having been sexually abused by an adult. Fifty-seven percent of girls and 61 percent of boys under 18 years old told survey researchers that they were abused by someone they knew or lived with, which makes it even more vital that we take steps to be more aware of the many forms of sexual assault that are occurring against kids today.
Yet this can be a more difficult time for young survivors of sexual abuse. Research has shown that childhood sexual abuse can have a lifelong impact on children’s brains, and the longer the survivor waits to report the crime, the more likely they are to be depressed, distrustful, aggressive, and anxious, according to John Rowe, PhD, author of Uncovering the Hidden Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
That’s why the St. John Ambulance Canada’s Canadian Childhood Sexual Abuse Prevention and Response Program (C.C.S.R.P.P.) is working with the National Crime Victimization Survey to address the health and safety issues and challenges around sexual assault and abuse in young people.
The aim of the initiative is to give youth, working with the organization, the knowledge, skills, and support they need to better understand, cope with, and report crime related to childhood sexual abuse. This includes working with law enforcement and medical professionals to encourage young people to come forward about incidents.
Together with other partner organizations, St. John Ambulance Canada is contributing both evidence-based research and public service announcements to teach young people about the consequences of childhood sexual abuse and encourage them to be advocates for their own safety.
The important work being done by C.C.S.R.P.P. has been recognized by the Canadian Crime Victim Safety Council, which nominated C.C.S.R.P.P.’s Canadian Juvenile Impact Steering Panel for the 2019 Youth Award. Members of this panel are a diverse group of youth themselves, bringing perspectives and unique experiences from child sexual abuse survivors, law enforcement, therapists, and treatment professionals. The award recognizes youth, organizers, and institutions that have contributed to preventing, reducing, or eliminating child sexual abuse.
Youth Advisory Group