THe Children's Hospital National Medical Center has recieved a $110,000 federal grant to establish a national pilot program for sexually abused children in Washington.
THe program, cosponsored by the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration and the National Insitue of Mental Health, will provide medical and psychological care for 150 of the estimated 4,600 children in the Washington Metropolitan area who are sexually abused each year.
That figure is an estimate, as are virtually all others in the field. Additionally said Dr. Frederick Green, associate director of Children's, the term and statistic encompass everything from children tho see exhibitionists, to children who are raped.
"Definitions are not precise in this particular area," said Green," and we can best day that (abuse) is an episode in which there is contract or interaction between a child and an adult when the child is being used as an object of gratification for adult sexual needs or desires.
"Within this rubic of abuse we consider adult exhibitionism, the fondling of children, genital contact, sexual intercourse, and sodomy and all such contacts that impair the child's capacity to develop normally.
Lest anyone think this is an uncommon problem, or one found only among the poor, a 1956 survey of 1,800 college students - the only such survey ever conducted - found that 35 per cent of the woman and 30 per cent of the men had episodes that fit Green's broad definition of abuse.
Fifty per cent of the women said they had told their parents of the incident, while only about 15 per cent of the men had done so.
"As best we know." said Green," about 150 children per 100.000 children under the age of 16 are abused. In New York City there are roughly 4,000" such cases a year. "The American Hummane Association suggests there are two cases unreported for every case that's reported.
"It's fairly clear that the closer the relationship of the offender to the victim, the less likely to report is to occur," said Green, who added that almost 75 per cent of abuser are friends or acquaintances of the child or family, are blood relatives of the child or people who live in the home with a child.