Can child sexual abuse also involve a child abusing another child?

YES.  More than a third of those who sexually abuse children are under the age of 18 themselves. In many instances, especially with younger children, a child may not understand that his or her forceful sexual actions toward another child are harmful.

Children who harm others often have been victimized in some way themselves. But being sexually victimized absolutely does not mean a child will develop sexually abusive behaviors. Most children who are sexually abused never sexually harm another child. However, without treatment, a child who has been sexually abused may be more vulnerable to being abused again or to be confused about which behaviors are appropriate.

See our Warning Signs section if you’re concerned about behavior between and among children and adolescents.

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