Being able to understand, tolerate and process the intense emotional feelings that can often arise as a consequence of sexual abuse can be extremely demanding. Long term effects can be physical, emotional and behavioural and often require a huge amount of care and support in order to process, adapt and change for which the therapeutic environment can be extremely beneficial. Evidence suggests that survivors of sexual abuse are likely to be at greater risk from self-harm or suicide and, although the suggestion that those abused are more likely to become abusers is now being challenged, the obstacles to developing healthy, intimate and stable emotional and sexual relationships can be significant.

Undertaking therapy as an adult who has been abused as a child is also complex and challenging, as such people have been traumatised during significant developmental phases of their lives where there perspectives on the world are being formed and their relationships towards themselves and others are being established. The impact on social maturation and the potential for post traumatic stress can be immense and the therapeutic environment can provide a safe space to establish a basis for trust and a reparative environment to help deal with and process the issues.

Web resources

The Survivors Trust

Victim Support

National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children


Stop It Now

Survivors of Sexual Abuse Anonymous


Victim Support – 08 08 16 89 111

NSPCC – 0808 800 5000

Childline – 0800 1111