A report from the Rape Crisis Network on child sexual violence confirms sexual crimes differ in substantive ways depending on the age and gender of the child.
The report also looks at the likely duration and severity of abuse, the relationship to the perpetrator, and the involvement of child perpetrators.
Family members pose the greatest threat to children, not strangers, according to the report.
It is the first report of its kind to use data from 16 rape crisis centres and children-at-risk branches nationwide.
It found that the average age of an offender is 26, but over a third of sexual abusers are children themselves, 97% of these offenders are male.
The report says that a child under 13 is most likely to be targeted for abuse by a family member rather than an acquaintance.
The opposite is true for a teenage girl.
A child under 13 experiencing abuse is likely to be victimised for years, whereas a teenage girl is more likely to experience a one-off incident that lasts for a number of hours.
The report points to an urgent need to challenge culture and norms of gender and sexual inequality and calls on the Government to ensure future funding for this type of data collection.
'Hearing Child Survivors of Sexual Violence: Towards a National Response' was launched this morning by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald.