2014 HARO Survey of Homeschool Alumni, Installment Nine: Abuse

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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.


About the Survey

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. The data collected will be used to advocate for the interests of current and future homeschooled children.

The survey, written by HARO Executive Director R.L. Stollar, was developed over a span of 9 months. Work on the survey began on November 24, 2013 and it was opened to the public on August 18, 2014. A set of approximately 90 initial questions were first created. These questions were then tested, modified, and re‐tested repeatedly over a span of 6 months to create the survey questions that were on the final version. The questions were specifically run by a diverse group of people, including Christians and non‐Christians, conservatives, moderates, and liberals, homeschoolers and unschoolers, and so forth. The final version of the survey featured questions on demographics, academic school experiences, non‐academic school experiences, food and health, religion, present and future personal life plans, sexuality, mental health, and abuse.

The survey, conducted online through SurveyMonkey, was estimated to take respondents 30 minutes to complete. It was first promoted through the homeschool abuse survivor community, from which it spread across the country through online social networks (primarily Facebook). Survey respondents were required to affirm that they were 18 years old or older, had been homeschooled for at least 7 years, were homeschooled in an environment which was classifiable as Christian (including Christian‐influenced new religious movements), and were taking the survey through completion for the first time. A total of 6,249 people started the survey; 3,702 respondents completed the survey before it closed on September 15, 2014. Only the completed responses were recorded and analyzed.

Data analysis was generously provided by the amazing team over at the Coalition for Responsible Home Education (CRHE). HARO is extraordinarily grateful to CRHE for donating an immense amount of their time and energy to analyzing the survey data.

View and download other installments of the survey here: Installment One | Installment Two | Installment Three | Installment Four | Installment Five | Installment Six | Installment Seven | Installment Eight | Installment Nine.

To download the ninth installment of results from HARO’s survey, click the link below:

A Complex Picture: Results of the 2014 Survey of Adult Alumni of the Modern Christian Homeschool Movement, Installment Nine


Author: The HARO Team