Child sex abuse causes 'increased risk of re-victimisation'

Renee Pilcher

SURVIVORS of childhood sexual abuse face a lifetime of negative effects, affecting everything from their behaviour and relationships to their health, research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies showed today.

While the report did not reveal new findings on child sexual abuse, it did quantify the documented effects of child sexual abuse on victims from numerous Australian and international studies.

"To date, the strongest links have been found between child sexual abuse and a spectrum of adverse mental health, social, sexual, interpersonal and behavioural as well as physical consequences," the report reads.

"An increased risk of re-victimisation of survivors has also been demonstrated consistently for both men and women survivors."

It found people who were sexually abused as children were more likely to develop mental illness, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychotic disorders.

Victims also had a higher risk of physical health problems, dependency on alcohol and drugs and higher chances of imprisonment.

The release of the study comes as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has called for submissions from survivors of child sexual abuse.

Survivors can contact the commission on 1800 099 340, or got to:

Topics:  child sex mental health

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