Child Sexual Abuse (CSA): The Facts


Long-term effects of child sexual abuse

Children who have been sexually abused are more likely to have 1:

  • Emotional and mental health problems
  • Over-sexualized behavior
  • Academic problems
  • Be involved in the delinquency or criminal system
  • Experience teen pregnancy
  • Have substance use disorders

As adults, CSA victims are more likely to suffer from 1:

  • Depression
  • Report a suicide attempt
  • Have substance use disorders
  • Become obese or develop eating disorders
  • Become involved in crime

In an Adverse Childhood Experiences study (ACES), researchers found that adverse childhood experiences, such as CSA, increase the risk of a variety of negative health, relationship, and psychological outcomes, including, but not limited to 2:

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Financial stress
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Poor academic achievement

Delayed Awareness

Several studies show individuals who are victims of child sexual abuse experience some varying degree of 2:

  • Delayed discovery
  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Severe memory deficits
  • Amnesia of the abuse at some point during their lives
  • Neurobiological defects that can affect memory
  • Impairment in multiple brain structures and functions, such as memory retention and recall

The mean age of disclosure is 48 and the average age of disclosure is 52

1 Child Sexual Abuse Statistics, Darkness to Light

2 David H. Gleaves, The Evidence for “Repression”: An Examination of Holmes (1990) and the Implications for the Recovered Memory Controversy, 5 J. of Child Sexual Abuse 1 (1996)