One of the deepest held secrets in families is that of sibling incest. It is not uncommon as you might think. Research shows that 60% of outpatient psychiatric patients report having engaged in sibling incest when they were children.1 This is another area of child abuse that we need to talk about.

Sibling incest involves the following:

Sibling incest is not:

The juvenile offender can be characterized as the following:

In this last case, the offender is a sexually reactive youth who previously was sexually abused or was exposed to adult sexual activity. There are numerous family patterns in which sibling incest occurs:

Characteristics of family systems at high risk for sibling incest include the following:

Unfortunately, these characteristics in families are not rare, thus, children too often engage in sexual incest as a result. This is just one more reason that we as survivors of abuse need to make out voices heard.


1 “Crisis Intervention Handbook: Assessment, Treatment, and Research,” by Albert R. Roberts, published by Oxford University Press, 2000