Secrecy and conscious or unconscious condoning of such behaviour by parents and children may complicate the indictment of the crime. The abusers are predominantly members of the victim's family or household. They may also be other authority figures, such as ministers of religion or masters at boarding schools.
Child abuse is more likely to occur in domestic situations where traditional norms are broken. Dramatic increase in the number of divorces, cohabitation, illegitimacy and one-parent families will increase the cases of sexual abuse of children.