Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

Posted on August 19, 2010


“The results of these investigations confirmed the reality of women’s experiences that Freud had dismissed as fantasies a century before. Sexual assaults against women and children were shown to be pervasive and endemic in our culture. The most sophisticated epidemiological survey was conducted in the early 1980s by Diana Russell, a sociologist and human rights activist. Over 900 women, chosen by random sampling techniques, were interviewed in depth about their experiences of domestic violence and sexual exploitation. The results were horrifying. One woman in four had been raped. One woman in three had been sexually abused in childhood.”

(Herman 2001:30)

Herman, J. L. (2001) Trauma and Recovery. Pandora, London.

“Child sexual abuse (CSA) is common”

“The aim of our study was to investigate the rate and risk of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose in 2759 individuals- up to 44 years after experiencing CSA- and to examine other characteristics among CSA victims who die from self-harm.”

“individuals who were identified as victims of CSA were significantly more likely to die from suicide or accidental drug overdose than individuals in the general population.”

Rates of suicide and accidental fatal drug overdose in male and female victims of child sexual abuse compared with the general population:


Female: 40 times higher risk of suicide

Male: 14 times more likely to suicide

Accidental fatal drug overdose:

Female: 88 times higher risk

Male: 38 times more likely

“victims who died as a result of self-harm were predominantly aged in their 30s at time of death. Most had contact with the public mental health system and half were recorded as being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.”

“Depression and psychosis have been consistently shown to be strong predictors of suicide.”

“The implications of our findings underscore the importance of thorough assessments of both males and females to screen for CSA and identify those at increased risk of fatal self-harm. Closer monitoring of and early interventions for victims of recognized CSA, particularly those suffering from less severe psychopathological conditions such as anxiety states, is clearly warranted. The finding that victims of CSA did not die from self-harm until many years after the abuse that they experienced offers hope that interventions to reduce the fatal risks of self-harm can be implemented within a considerable window of opportunity. As sexual abuse in childhood appears to be one of several major factors contributing to fatal self-harm, management and treatment interventions need to focus on a range of risk factors, of which CSA should be considered an established factor.”

“This study was jointly funded by the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and the Department of Psychological Medicine, Monash University.”

Suicide and fatal drug overdose in child sexual abuse victims: a historical cohort study

The Medical Journal of Australia MJA 15 February 2010 Volume 192 Number 4

Identifying the pathway to suicide in child sexual abuse victims – Ross S Kalucy

Robyn Lamb Co-Head of the Child Protection Unit at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead said 25% of women – 1 in 4 girls – and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. That has enormous consequences for society.

AIFS Australian Institute of Family Studies

Child Abuse & Neglect Statistics

Resource Sheet 2010

Mental health services in Australia 2007-08

Australian Institute of Family Studies (pdf)

The economic costs of child abuse and neglect

Total Estimated Cost of Child Abuse and Neglect in the United States

The Cost of Child Abuse in Australia

ASCA – adults surviving child abuse

Liz Mullinar- Survivor of Child Abuse

A landmark Australian study has found the vast majority of people who are sexually abused as children do not become offenders themselves.

But the study finds that overall they are five times more likely than other members of the population to be charged with some sort of offence.


Sexual abuse in childhood leads to fatal harm. CSA is an established factor.

Anxiety disorder is the most common manifestation of CSA.

If people have been exposed to traumatic experiences during childhood, therapists need to look for CSA. Perhaps CSA is masquerading as an anxiety disorder.

Complex PTSD’s cardinal symptoms are hyperarousal (agitation), numbing and hypervigilance (watchfulness for the return of the traumatic exposure).

If 1 in 3 women have been sexually interfered with before the age of 18, what’s the impact of this on:

  1. 80% of women are not happy with their body image.
  2. The way they conduct their relationships, on the breakdown of marriage and their ability to parent
  3. It would certainly have a strong impact on substance abuse and other addictions. They take drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling and other addictions to make themselves feel better.
Posted in: Trauma