Women - New Zealand - Sexually Abused As Children - Research




29 October 2007

University of Auckland

A study by The University of Auckland indicates that about one in four New Zealand women have been victims of child sexual abuse before the age of 15. Twenty three per cent of women in urban areas and 28 per cent in rural areas experienced some form of sexual abuse as a child.

In the majority of cases one perpetrator was involved, usually a male family member, and around half of the women had experienced the abuse on more than one occasion. The average age of the victim at the start of the abuse was nine years old, with the average age of the abuser being 30.

"There is an urgent need for the implementation of programmes for the primary prevention of child sexual abuse, and the provision of support and treatment for women who have experienced child sexual abuse, as well as treatment for perpetrators of child sexual abuse," says Dr Janet Fanslow of the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

"With one in four New Zealand women reporting child sexual abuse, the scale of the problem calls for urgent implementation of programmes to prevent child sexual abuse and to address the impact of child sexual abuse within our communities. Maori women were more likely to report child sexual abuse compared with women from other ethnic groups, highlighting the need for culturally appropriate services."

The New Zealand Violence Against Women study, funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand, was a replication of the World Health Organisation Multi-Country Study on Women’s Health and Domestic Violence against Women. The New Zealand study interviewed nearly 3,000 women aged 18 to 64 from the Auckland and Waikato regions about their experiences of violence prior to and after 15 years of age. The results are published in Child Abuse & Neglect: the international journal.

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