Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), such as abuse or exposure to violence can have significant and far-reaching impacts on children and adolescents, especially when the form of abuse is sexual in nature. In the state of Idaho, 23% of adults have had four or more ACEs, while 65% of adults have had at least one ACE. Of the various types of ACEs experienced by Idaho adults, 13.9% were touched sexually, 10% were made to touch someone else sexually, and 4.9% were forced to have sex. According to statistics based on confirmed reports, an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds, and every 9 minutes the victim is a child. Unfortunately, many victims of sexual abuse do not disclose and research shows that it is a far more widespread issue than statistics can account for. In the US and Europe, 1/5-1/3 of females report having had a childhood sexual experience with a male adult.
When a child has an adverse experience, it can lead to greater issues down the line. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) correlate with negative health impacts. Those who have six or more ACEs lose 20 years to their average life expectancy compared to those who do not have any ACEs. Those with 4 or more ACEs are more likely to have a chronic health condition and engage in unhealthy behaviors. Unfortunately for some children, one ACE they will experience is physical abuse. In Idaho, a reported 19.2% of adults have experienced physical abuse as a child and in 2017 there were 402 confirmed cases reported in the state.
When a parent withholds meeting the basic needs of their child physically, emotionally, educationally, or medically it is considered neglect. In the United States, among all mistreated children (672,000), 7 out of 1,000 were victims of neglect. The percentage of maltreated children who were neglected increased from 49% to 75% from 1990 to 2016. The effects of neglect as a child can be both physical and psychological, lasting well into adulthood and sometimes throughout one’s lifetime. In Idaho, 65.1% of adults have experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience, ACE, with emotional abuse/neglect being the most common at 37.6%.
One of the most difficult forms of abuse to detect is emotional, or psychological, abuse. This harmful behavioral pattern can have significant, far-reaching impacts on children that extend into adulthood. Oftentimes, it occurs in tandem with sexual or physical abuse. In 36% of reported child abuse cases in the US, emotional abuse was also an identified factor.
In 1953, Reverend James Crowe had a vision for a place where “wayward” young people could find a “reorientation of self.” His vision was a working ranch where young men (we expanded to include girls in the ’70s) would get the guidance and support they needed to find a path to a promising future. That’s when Idaho Youth Ranch was born.
In 1985, Dr. Vincent Felitti was the Chief of Preventative Medicine at Keiser Permanente. He was doing a study on long-term health outcomes when he noticed that people who had traumatic pasts tended to have more dire health outcomes such as heart disease and diabetes. So strong was the trend, he turned the focus of his research to understanding more about how adversity in childhood related to health outcomes in adults.