Child sexual abuse in the United States is costly, with an average lifetime cost of $1.1 million per death of female victims and $1.5 million per death of male victims, according to a new study.
Researchers measured the economic costs of child sexual abuse by calculating health care costs, productivity losses, child welfare costs, violence/crime costs, special education costs and suicide death costs.
They estimated the total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States to be $9.3 billion, based on child sexual abuse data from 2015. For nonfatal cases of child sexual abuse, the estimated lifetime cost is $282,734 per female victim. There was insufficient information on productivity losses for male victims, which contributed to a lower estimated lifetime cost of $74,691. The findings are published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect.
“This study reveals that the economic burden of child sexual abuse is substantial and signifies recognition that reducing children’s vulnerability will positively and directly impact the nation’s economic and social well-being and development,” said Dr. Xiangming Fang, associate professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. “We hope our research will bring attention to the need for increased prevention efforts for child sexual abuse.”