Statistics have proven time and again that most instances of sexual abuse happen at home, within the family unit. The “stranger” scenario, while possible, does not happen very often.
“The actual facts of the crime of child sexual abuse show that close to 80% of children who do suffer abuse, do so at the hands of a family member,” explained Lance Sharp of the Sharp Firm of Austin, Texas. Further, roughly 19% are abused by peripheral members familiar to the family unit – meaning a good friend, a known and trusted coach, minister, cub or scout leader, etc.
The percentage of children abused by total strangers runs in the area of approximately 1%. While this doesn’t make the numbers any less horrific, it does point out that the myth stating most sexual abuse cases are perpetrated by strangers is just that – a myth. “The problem is that the media makes a huge issue of stranger sexual abuse cases, as it sells papers,” said Sharp, who has, with his partner, Laura Sharp, over 40 years combined legal experience.
Many people also make the mistake of thinking that sexual abuse is something that only happens to smaller children. “This is not the case. It happens at any age and if not stopped, often continues until the child is able to leave the family home,” explained Lance Sharp. If it isn’t bad enough that abuse happens at home, many of today’s youngsters are also exposed to people trolling the Internet for “game,” to abuse. Whether that happens online or offline often depends on if the child is convinced to meet the predator.
Speaking of online stalking for abuse victims, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children discovered during a survey of 13 to 17 year olds, that virtually 4% of them did meet an Internet friend in person. A staggering 30% opined they’d considered meeting someone they only know over the Internet, and over 71% said they got messages from people they didn’t know, who were them asking personal questions. Those kinds of statistics drive cold fear into the heart of any parent with children, and at the Sharp Firm, Lance and Laura Sharp know these issues and how to deal with them professionally and with dignity.
No matter how a child comes to be a victim of sexual abuse, there comes a time when the family needs to consult with a compassionate and skilled attorney. Choose one who has a demonstrated track record in dealing with issues of this nature, an attorney with the sensitivity to deal with the many heart-wrenching issues that cases such as this encompass. One such firm of Austin, Texas attorneys is Lance and Laura Sharp of the Sharp Firm.