Science

Saint-Denis investigates child sexual abuse case

Unfortunately, the topic is relevant this week. Following the announcement by Elisabeth Bourne of the establishment of “specialized centres” on domestic violence and International Women’s Rights Day, the Observatory of Violence Against Women organized its 21st meeting this Thursday in Bobigny. An opportunity for a departmental organization to submit its 2022 inventory.

Members of the Observatory took the opportunity to present a study on child sexual abuse. Based on a sample of 100 files selected by Department of Child Welfare (ASE) inspectors, the study paints a composite portrait of this violence.

Girls, the main victims

The vast majority of victims are girls, as out of a hundred cases studied, 84 involve girls versus 16 boys. If the average age of children at the time of the ASE consultation is 14 years and 7 months, then a study of their cards shows that, on average, the first violence begins at 9 and a half years. In boys, they occur earlier, around the sixth year of life, compared with the tenth in girls.

Not surprisingly, most sexual violence occurs within the family. Of the 100 cases examined, 72 concern children who have been victims of incest. In more than one out of two cases (58%), it is the father who is one of the aggressors, ahead of brother (25%), stepfather (15%), uncle (9.5%), mother (4%) and grandfather (2, 5%).

Violence may continue after placement

And when it is not a direct family member, the aggressor is almost always a person in the environment, very close to the child, since for 92 years they have been the victim of at least one person they knew: a boyfriend, a family friend. , or a classmate. At least one person, because according to the documents, several people attack children. Of the 100 children in the study, the Observatory lists 234 abusers, 98% of whom are men. The remaining 2% are three women, two of whom acted in complicity with a man.

Even in foster families, children can become the object of aggression. In the place of placement, as well as in the house in which it is located, they can become victims of other children. Or even in their parents’ house when they retained the right to visit or reside. Of the 100 children, 57 continued to be abused after being taken into care.

Violence causing problems

Because sexual assault is not isolated in almost all cases. If it is often difficult for a child to determine the date of these events, “this abuse is not punctual,” comments Alix Vallot, a researcher at the Observatory. Almost 50% of detected cases have an average period of 3 years and 10 months.

An ordeal that did not remain without consequences for the victims. On the health side, first of all, there are numerous psycho-traumatic disorders, anxiety, signs of depression, suicidal thoughts … Many children also have sleep disorders, eating disorders and problems with addictions (alcohol, drugs, drugs). The effects are also being felt on their school career as 53% of them are in a delay situation. Thirty-eight don’t even go to school.

“Saint-Saint-Denis faces the problem”

To combat this scourge and improve child protection services, the Observatory offers a number of recommendations. First, by developing preventive action among children from kindergarten through all ages, and by educating professionals in greater understanding and systematic questioning to improve detection and reporting of such violence.

Alix Vallot also recommends informing the child about the legal consequences of the violence he/she has identified: “Most often, after reporting, the child is not informed about the consequences of the case. For him, nothing seems to be happening. »

“Saint-Saint-Denis is no more affected by this problem than others, but has the courage to face it,” concludes the representative of the department.

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