KSHB 41: Children abusing children, Children's Mercy sees' dangerous trend involving children and pornography
By Sarah Plake
Children's Mercy says they're seeing a disturbing trend in child sexual assault cases.
Children are abusing children.
"I think that was kind of shocking to us all as we were collecting this data, is that almost half of our perpetrators are minors," said Heidi Olson, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Coordinator.
The SANE program's data shows perpetrators are likely to be between 11 and 15 years-old.
"Another thing we're noticing is a lot of those sexual assaults are violent sexual assaults, so they include physical violence in addition to sexual violence," said Jennifer Hansen, a child abuse pediatrician at Children's Mercy.
Last year, Children's Mercy saw 444 kids who were sexually abused within the last five days. That number rounds out to around 1,000 a year when they include the children who report sexual assault after five days.
Victims are most likely girls around 4 to 8 years-old.
Hansen and Olson says they're noticing kids are being exposed to porn at very young ages, around 4 or 5 years-old. They say a child can develop unrealistic and dangerous ideas about intimate relationships by being exposed to violent, graphic porn.
Hansen and Olson say now that they're noticing the trend, SANE nurses have been documenting specifically if pornography is tied to a case in any way.
Their hope is that someday enough research will be collected to definitively say that pornography is influencing child sexual assault.
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Learn more about the SANE Program at Children's Mercy