The Differing Risk Factors and Characteristics of Intrafamilial and Extrafamilial Child Sexual Abuse

Open Access
Henry, Sarah Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Richard B Felson, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver, Honors Advisor
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Intrafamilial
  • Extrafamilial
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Sexual Abuse
  • Intimacy
  • Revictimization
  • Abuse Risk factors
This study examines some of the characteristics and risk factors of intrafamilial (family) and extrafamilial (outsider) child sexual. Few studies have examined the characteristics of either type of abuse. Many studies look at risk factors but do not examine abuse by family members and outsiders separately. I emphasize the role of opportunity, i.e., the circumstances that bring victims in contact with offenders in the absence of guardians. I use a survey of children to look at a child’s age, gender, and family structure to see if they affect whether the child is abused and whether the abuser is a family member or an outsider. I identify which is more likely to be repeated and which is more likely to have a greater level of intimacy. I use binomial and multinomial logistic regression as well as chi-square. The results suggest that the younger a child is the more at risk they are for family sexual abuse. Females are more likely to be abused than males by family members and outsiders. Reconstituted families and single parent families are particularly likely to increase the risk of sexual abuse in general and by family members. Abuse by outsiders is likely to involve more intimate sexual encounters than family abuse. This knowledge gives us a greater understanding of who is at risk and what they are at risk of when looking at family and outsider child sexual abuse.