skip navigation

Child Sexual Abuse

Broadly, child sexual abuse (CSA) is using children (under age 18) for sexual gratification. This can include sexual touching, penetration, and sexual acts such as flashing, masturbation, peeping, or exposure to pornography that may not involve touching. Child sexual abuse can be perpetrated by older youth as well as adults. The term child sexual assault may be used in reference to sexual violence perpetrated against a minor youth by a peer. 


National surveys of adults suggest that between 9-32% of women and 5-10% of men report that they were victims of sexual abuse and/or assault during their childhood.

There are many reasons why the data on child sexual abuse varies, including how the abuse is defined, how the data is gathered (for example, from current or retrospective self-reports or from official crime reports), and limitations in different research methodologies. For more statistics on child sexual abuse/assault and related considerations, please see the Childhood Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet from the Crimes Against Children Research Center.

Related Statistics

Legal Considerations

In contrast to other sexual offenses, child sexual abuse laws in Washington are not focused on issues of consent or the use of force or coercion. This acknowledges the inherent power disparities that result from age differences and the desire to protect minors from the abuse of power. It does not matter what the child did or did not do. Thus, many of the child sexual abuse laws are based upon the age of the victim and the age difference between the perpetrator and the victim.

Adults and teens can be charged with the sexual abuse of a child. The same laws apply to teenage and adult offenders, although the penalties are different.

Sexual contact by a child under the age of twelve with a younger child can only be prosecuted under very specific circumstances. When the offending child is between the ages of eight and eleven it is possible to prosecute if certain legal requirements are met, but this is rare. Children under eight years of age cannot be prosecuted regardless of the behavior.

Sex Offense Definitions

9A.44.073 Rape of a child in the first degree.
9A.44.076 Rape of a child in the second degree.
9A.44.079 Rape of a child in the third degree.
9A.44.083 Child molestation in the first degree.
9A.44.086 Child molestation in the second degree.
9A.44.089 Child molestation in the third degree.
9A.44.093 Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree.
9A.44.096 Sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree.
9A.44.115 Voyeurism.
9A.44.120 Admissibility of child's statement -- Conditions
9A.44.150 Testimony of child by closed-circuit television.
9A.44.190 Criminal trespass against children -- Definitions.
9A.44.193 Criminal trespass against children -- Covered entities.
9A.44.196 Criminal trespass against children.

9.68A Sexual Exploitation of Children

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Resources & Reports

Please visit our CSA Prevention Special Editions page


Related Content

Recorded Webinars

Additional Online Resources

Reviewed: July 5th, 2016