Are children who get sexually abused more likely to become sexually abusive as teens or adults?

FAQ Category:
Children's Behaviors

NO. The vast majority of sexual abuse victims live their lives without ever sexually abusing others.

Some people who sexually abuse children were victims of abuse or neglect as children. And having been abused as a child does heighten the risk for becoming someone who sexually abuses children. It’s not an excuse, just a fact. But many childhood experiences besides sexual abuse are associated with sexually harmful behavior in youth, including exposure to violence, lack of emotional connection early in life, and physical abuse. Acknowledging and addressing the distress these children have already faced is a good way to begin ending this abusive cycle. Experts and parents agree that with specialized treatment these children can heal.

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