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Sexual Abuse of Indian Children

  • Date Submitted: 04/16/2011 02:44 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 25.6 
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Sexual Abuse of Indian Children and Tribal Government Compliance with
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006
Part I: Introduction
In 1995, American Indian and Alaskan Native youth from across the country gathered to testify at a hearing of the Committee on Indian Affairs on the challenges facing American Indian youth.   After speaking on the welfare of Native American children with regards to mental and physical health, a young man from the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Nation concluded his address stating, “[t]he challenges that we face are ones that will be devastating to our people, because without us, there is no future.”   Despite the statement’s simplicity, it conveyed a grave message to Congress: the needs of Indian children and families must not be overlooked.  
One of the most significant challenges in Native American communities is childhood sexual abuse.   American Indian children have a victimization rate of 13.9% per 1,000 children of the same race.   This statistic is exceeded only by the victimization rate of African American children, who experience the highest rate of physical and sexual abuse at 16.6% per every 1,000 African American children.   Many risk factors that increase the incidence of child abuse, physical or sexual, are significantly prevalent in the Native American community.   Some of these risk factors include: poverty and its inextricable relationship to unemployment, substance abuse, unstable family relationships, criminal behavior of a parent, pre-existing mental health issues exacerbated by the symptoms of stress, and geographical isolation its effect on access to appropriate social assistance.   The most indicative of these risk factors families who live in poverty.   According to the United States Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey, 11.7% of the Native American and Alaskan Native population lived below 50% of the federal poverty level, compared to 4.4% of the white population.   The statistics are even...


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