WHAT IS THE PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?

In the short term, it’s not unusual for a child to develop some post-traumatic stress reactions that will respond to treatment. Others—particularly those who have suffered multiple traumas and received little parental support—may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Their ability to trust adults to take care of them may also be jeopardized. Sadly, when children do not disclose sexual abuse and/or do not receive effective counseling, they can suffer difficulties long into the future. As one child expressed it, “Abuse is like a boomerang. If you don’t deal with it, it can come back to hurt you.” On the other hand, children who have the support of an understanding caregiver and effective treatment can recover without long-term effects.

Appears in: The Impact of Abuse on Children