Differences between sexually abused children with and without intellectual disabilities



Paquette G, Dion J, Tremblay KN, Tourigny M, Hélie S, *Bouchard J, Matteau S. (2017). Differences between sexually abused children with and without intellectual disabilities. The International Journal of Victimology. 34(14): 29-37.


The risk of being sexually abused is 4.6 times greater among children with intellectual disabilities than among typically developing children, while the global prevalence of intellectual disabilities is only 1%. No study has yet included a representative sample of sexually abused children with intellectual disabilities reported to child protection services and a control group of children without intellectual disabilities also reported being sexually abused in the province of Quebec (Canada). This study concerns children whose reports of sexual abuse were deemed founded after the protection services investigation (n = 102). Descriptive (percentages, means, standard deviations) and comparative (logistics regressions) analyses were used to describe and compare the victims with intellectual disabilities (n = 10) and those without intellectual disabilities (n = 92), regarding socio-demographic and caregiver characteristics, child protection services, sexual abuse suffered and difficulties presented by the children and the parents. Overall, the results indicate that children with intellectual disabilities are characterized by more adverse associated factors than typically developing children, including physical disabilities, more self-destructive behaviors, multiple runaways, a greater average number of past protection services files. The results are discussed in terms of the issues raised to better protect this vulnerable population.