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Monday, 20 February 2012

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND CHILD MOLESTATION?


WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND CHILD MOLESTATION?
Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is one form of child abuse. It includes a wide range of actions between a child and an adult or older child. Often these involve body contact, but not always. Exposing one's genitals to children or pressuring them for sex is sexual abuse. Using a child for pornography is also sexual abuse.

Most sexual abusers know the child they abuse. They may be family friends, neighbors or babysitters. About one-third of abusers are related to the child. Most abusers are men. If you think a child may have been abused, it's important to report it (MedlinePlus).

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Child Sexual Abuse/Child Molestation

Child sexual abuse is the sexual assault of a minor or, according to the American Psychological Association, sexual activity between a minor and an older person in which the dominant position of the older person is used to coerce or exploit the younger. Child sexual abuse is illegal in all countries about which information is available. Although these laws differ in detail, all set an age - typically near puberty - under which all sexual contact with adults is deemed abusive. Above this age, sexual contact may be judged abuse depending on the use of violence or coercion or the type of relationship involved.

The term includes also the commercial sexual exploitation of children, defined by the International Labour Organization in the text of the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999. Child molestation is an informal synonym for child sexual abuse, most often used for sex between adults and young children. A perpetrator of child sexual abuse is known as a child sex offender if convicted, or informally as a child molester(Wikipedia).

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Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is pressurized, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or young person. This can include kissing, touching the young person's genitals or breasts, intercourse or oral sex. Encouraging a child to look at pornographic magazines, videos or sexual acts is also sexual abuse.

Child sex abusers can come from any professional, racial or religious background, and can be male or female. They are not always adults - children and young people can also behave in a sexually abusive way. Usually the abuser is a family member or someone known to the child, such as a family friend.

Abusers may act alone or as part of an organized group. They sometimes prefer children of a particular age, sex, physical type or ethnic background. After the abuse, they will put the child under great pressure not to tell anyone about it. They will go to great lengths to get close to children and win their trust. For example, by choosing employment that brings them into contact with children, or by pretending to be children in internet chat rooms run for children and young people.

Child sex abusers are sometimes referred to as "pedophiles" or "sex offenders," especially when they are not family members (NSPCC).

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Source

MedlinePlus - A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine:Click Here

Wikipedia: Click Here

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC):Click Here

Are the penalties for child sexual abuse the same, statewide?

Penalties for child sexual abuse

Penalties for child sexual abuse vary with the specific offenses for which the perpetrator has been convicted. Criminal penalties may include imprisonment, fines, registration as a sex offender, and restrictions on probation and parole. Civil penalties may include liability for damages, injunctions, involuntary commitment, and, for perpetrators related to their victims, loss of custody or parental rights.

During the last three decades many state legislatures have increased prison terms and other penalties for child sex offenders.This trend toward more stringent sentences generally targets those perpetrators who are repeat offenders, who victimize multiple children, or who stood in a position of trust with respect to their victims, such as a guardian, parent, pastor, or teacher. In Colorado, lawmakers proposed a new law allowing the death penalty for repeat offenders. However, the bill was rejected by the state senate. 


Kennedy v. Louisiana

The USA Supreme Court in a 5-4 judgment penned by Justice Anthony Kennedy on June 25, 2008, prohibited executions of accused convicted of child rape: "the death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child, despite the horrendous nature of the crime." Kennedy reserved capital punishment only "for crimes that involve a victim's death." In this Louisiana case, Patrick Kennedy raped his 8-year-old stepdaughter, resulting into serious injuries which required surgery. 44 states prohibit death penalty for any kind of rape, but Louisiana and 4 other states permit it for child rape — Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. There's disagreement over the status of a Georgia law permitting execution for child rape, but Justice Kennedy ruled it was still in force. The court, thus declared unconstitutional the Louisiana statute (La. Stat. Ann. §14:42, West 1997 and Supp. 1998): "the Eighth Amendment bars Louisiana from imposing the death penalty for the rape of a child where the crime did not result, and was not intended to result, in the victim’s death."

Opponents have criticized the decision, noting an admission by the Justice Department that they had failed to note that the US Congress had made child rape a capital offense under military law as recently as 2006, which has been noted as contradicting the "evolving standards of decency" justification for the decision.


Related Sources:

Wikipedia - Penalties of Child Sexual Abuse

Supreme Court of the United States - Kennedy v. Louisiana

The Oyez Project U.S. Supreme Court Media 

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