Child study reveals extent of sexual violence

Some 22 per cent of Swiss girls and eight per cent of boys under 16 have been victims of sexual assault once in their lives, a survey shows.

This content was published on March 7, 2012 - 13:48 and agencies

One out of three girls and one out of ten boys admitted to being victims of sexual abuse via the internet and other modern technologies, it also found.

The study, which was carried out by the UBS Optimus Foundation among 6,700 Swiss students on average age 16, found that 15 per cent of those questioned admitted to having been forced to have sex or being sexually assaulted.

Girls were more affected than boys with one fifth of all girls questioned saying they had been victims of sexual abuse with physical contact. Among boys it was one in 12.

Forty per cent of girls and 20 per cent of boys said they had been victims of abuse without physical contact.

Adolescents are more likely to experience sexual violence by people of the same age rather than by family members, it found. In most cases the aggressors were male, often a boyfriend or friend.

Seven per cent of boys and one per cent of girls admitted to having abused other people. These perpetrators had most often been victims of abuse in their own childhood with violent parents, few friends and were socially isolated.

The survey found that when victims speak out it is invariably to their parents. Only four per cent of victims of sexual abuse contacted a doctor or psychologist and only five per cent contacted the police.

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