The realisation that children are sexually abused is hard to accept, yet alone understand; but to ignore it is far worse.
All of us, whether we realise it or not, know someone who has been abused as a child. Sexual abuse knows no boundaries of gender, class, race or religion.
There is no single 'sexual abuse syndrome'
People are affected in different ways and to different extents by abuse. Survivors live their lives just like anyone else, but for some there are long-term effects:
- Mental and physical health problems
- Alcohol and drug misuse to cope with trauma
- Homelessness and suicide
Not all survivors go on to have these problems, but many suffer long-term trauma in one form or another.
Increasing knowledge and awareness of childhood sexual abuse
Creating a climate where abuse is recognised, its consequences tackled, and, most importantly, effective steps are taken to prevent it happening, is central to improving support for survivors.
- Defines sexual abuse
- Explains facts and misconceptions
- Discusses effects on survivors and the community
- Gives examples of survival and recovery
- Proposes strategies for prevention