In 2014, HARO, the parent organization of Homeschoolers Anonymous, conducted a survey of adult alumni of the modern Christian homeschool movement in consultation with the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE). The purpose of this survey was to investigate the life experiences of Christian homeschool alumni by collecting information that past surveys of homeschool alumni had not.
Installment Nine of the 2014 HARO Survey examines respondents’ reports of child abuse, their feelings about spanking, and their understanding of child protective services.
In summary, approximately half of respondents (51%) reported experiencing abuse either within or outside their homeschooling environment, and a further 26% reported knowing another homeschooler who was abused. Within the home, the most common types of abuse reported were emotional/verbal abuse, religious abuse, educational neglect, and physical abuse. Outside of the home, the most common types were religious abuse and emotional/verbal abuse. Among respondents’ homeschooled acquaintances who were abused, the most common types were emotional/verbal abuse and educational neglect. More female respondents reported being abused than males, and only around one-third (35%) of those who reported abuse heard about the survey through the survivor community. With regard to corporal punishment, 44% of respondents reported that their parents used this method of discipline ‘Often’ or ‘Always’; however, only 14% believed corporal punishment was ‘Often’ or ‘Always’ an effective disciplinary method, and only 9% reported that they do or would use corporal punishment to discipline their children ‘Often’ or ‘Always’. Those who were spanked ‘Often’ or ‘Always’ were more likely to consider spanking inherently abusive. Overall, respondents reported that as children they had little knowledge of child protective services and abuse reporting procedures—nearly half experienced fear of child protective services—although more than half believed their caregivers would have been receptive to education in this area.