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Child Abuse Negl. 1994 Oct;18(10):827-35.

The prevalence of child sexual abuse in Finland.

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Central Union for Child Welfare in Finland, Helsinki.


The prevalence and context of child sexual abuse was surveyed in Finland. A random sample of 409 comprehensive school classes with about 9,000 15-year-olds were asked to anonymously fill out questionnaires. The majority (93%) filled the questionnaires out in the privacy of the school nurse's office, the rest in their classrooms. Eighty-nine percent of the selected classes participated in the survey and the response rate of the students in those classes was 96%. Eighteen percent of girls and 7% of boys reported sexual experiences with a person at least 5 years older than themselves at the time of the incident. Voluntary experiences with boy or girlfriends were then excluded to get an estimate of the prevalence of sexual abuse. About 6-8% of girls and 1-3% (depending on the used criteria) of boys reported experiences that could be classified as sexual abuse. Force had been used against 2% and violence against 1% of the girls. Regional differences were so great both in sexual experience and in sexual abuse that they could be interpreted as giving support to a "subculture theory" of sorts. The results are compared with prevalence estimates from the United States and the Nordic countries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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