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Child Sexual Abuse on New Mexico Tribal Land, 1999-2004

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2004
22 pages
This study determined whether there were any differences between reported child sexual abuse cases that originated on New Mexico's tribal lands compared to nontribal areas, based on data from a program in Albuquerque, NM, that serves abused, neglected, and traumatized children and their families.
The study focused on cases served by the program (Safehouse) from 1999 to May 2003. Since the cases studies were restricted to those referred to Safehouse for a forensic interview, they may not be representative of all child sexual abuse cases either on or off the reservation. The findings are useful, however, for advancing understanding of differences in reported cases of child sexual abuse in tribal and nontribal areas. Of the 4,172 cases analyzed, 428 were "tribal," and 3,311 were "nontribal." Researchers were not able to identify tribal or nontribal origins for 433 cases; these were excluded from analysis. Data addressed demographic variables for the victims and accused perpetrators, the victim's relationship to the accused, and characteristics of the abuse episode. Although cases that originated from tribal lands were similar to nontribal cases in many respects, there were some statistically significant differences. There were a greater proportion of male victims and female perpetrators among nontribal cases compared to tribal cases. The majority of tribal cases involved Native-American offenders and victims. Although most victims were living at home at the time of the interview, cases that originated from tribal areas were more likely to involve victims who lived with friends or relatives compared to nontribal cases. This suggests the culturally specific and distinctive living arrangements of Native-American youth. For nontribal cases, perpetrators were more likely to be a parent of the victim as well as a boyfriend or girlfriend of a biological parent, among tribal cases however, perpetrators were more likely to be extended family members. 19 tables and a 16-item bibliography

Date Published: November 1, 2004