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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Support services for victims and survivors of child sexual abuse

The research participants

The ages of the survey respondents ranged from 19 to 74 years, with an average of 47 years. Around four in five identified as female (82%), the majority identified as being of a White ethnic background (92%), and one in three reported having a disability (33%). All regions of England and Wales were represented, with one in four living in London or South East England (26%). Nearly nine in ten identified as heterosexual (89%).[1]

Respondents reported experiencing between one and eight types of child sexual abuse. The two most common forms were being kissed or groped on any part of the body in a sexual way (73%) and penetration (64%). The age at first victimisation spanned from infancy to 17 years old, with an average of 9 years old.

Child sexual abuse was more likely to have occurred in a familial setting (41%) than an institutional one (11%). Two in five (43%) respondents identified a friend, acquaintance or neighbour as the perpetrator. Around one in four (27%) identified an immediate – typically male – family member as the perpetrator. A stranger was identified by one in five (20%) respondents.

Just over one in five respondents had never previously disclosed their experiences of child sexual abuse (21%), while four in five had made a disclosure (79%). Respondents were more than twice as likely to report making a disclosure later in life (75%) than at the time of the abuse (28%). A quarter disclosed at both points (24%).



  1. There were no statistically significant differences between the Crime Survey for England and Wales recontact sample and the online survey respondents in relation to key demographic characteristics (eg age group, gender and ethnicity).
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