Others watched sex abuse, say two-thirds of victims

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 November, 2004, 12:00am

Study finds some children molested more than 100 times

More than two-thirds of sexually abused children say others were watching during their ordeals, according to a report by a Social Welfare Department psychiatrist.

This has emerged from interviews with 58 abuse victims, including two who said they had been abused more than 100 times.

The distressing statistics come from a publication called Journal on Child Sexual Abuse by clinical psychologist Ellen Ma Yee-man, who warned parents it was not even safe to leave their children while they were at home.

'Abusers will try every means to molest the children. When family members go to the bathroom or the kitchen for 15 minutes, they might take the opportunity to harass them,' Ms Ma wrote.

The abused children she interviewed had all been referred for clinical psychological services in 1999, a year when the department recorded a total of 210 child abuse cases.

The study found that victims of multiple abuse were more likely to have been abused by a family member, to have taken a longer time to disclose the abuse, and to have been abused in contexts where the abusers had control and power.

The report said 24 of the children reported the presence of other people at the time of abuse, seven victims said they were abused for five to nine years and eight said they were abused for two to four years.

At total of 17 interviewees said they were molested up to 10 times, while two said they were sexually abused more than 100 times.

The study found all of the abusers were male and 68 per cent of them were close relatives. The 58 samples are 'skewed towards the problematic end' as they were referred to the welfare department after police investigation, the study said.

Ms Ma said abusers and victims should both seek professional help.

'I wish the abusers can take the initiative to shoulder the responsibility for themselves as well as their family members,' she said, adding that some abusers managed to reunite with their families after counselling.


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