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THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF BOYS IS A NEGLECTED ISSUE

Boys are often overlooked as victims of CSEA (child sexual exploitation and abuse), both in legislation protecting children from sexual violence and in government action plans.

Studies show that girls are more likely to experience CSEA than boys, with 8% of boys and 18% of girls globally estimated to be abused before the age of 18 (Stoltenbourgh et al, 2011). Although in some countries, boys are abused at higher rates than girls (Economist Intelligence Unit, 2020). 

It is possible that boys and girls are abused at similar rates worldwide, but that more boys stay silent about their experiences. UNICEF reports that this can occur for many reasons, including: concerns about questions being raised about their sexual orientation, afraid of not being believed, not realising that they have been abused, and thinking that no one will help them (2021).

Globally, it is estimated that 8% of boys and 18% of girls are abused before the age of 18 (Stoltenbourgh et al, 2011).

In England and Wales, 5% of boys and 15% of girls experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16 (Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse, 2018).

Over ⅔ of children who are sexually abused or exploited do not tell anyone what is happening to them (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual