Inquiry urges more open conversation about child sexual abuse

19 February 2019 – IICSA

New research from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse found that over half of victims and survivors who came forward to the Inquiry did not report that they were being sexually abused at the time it was happening.

Over 2,500 victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have now shared their experiences with the Inquiry’s Truth Project. Of these, 1,697 personal accounts have been analysed for research purposes.

Over half of those who came forward (55%) reported that they did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time it was happening. Under one in ten (8%) disclosed their abuse for the first time when they spoke to the Truth Project.

Many told the Inquiry that the abuse had a detrimental impact on all aspects of their lives – taking a toll on their mental and physical health, relationships, education and employment prospects:

  • 86% of survivors told the Truth Project that the abuse had a negative impact on their mental health, with 39% experiencing depression following the abuse.
  • Over half (51%) reported that the abuse had damaged their relationships with others, and a third (34%) reported trust and intimacy issues.
  • 45% said that the abuse had a negative impact on their education and employment and almost one fifth (17%) reported being unhappy at school.
  • 7% of girls became pregnant as a direct result of being sexually abused and one in 10 survivors (10%) reported a physical injury.

The Inquiry has also published new experiences of child sexual abuse from the Truth Project, as part of the first ever anthology dedicated to survivor experiences in England and Wales. In the accounts, victims and survivors speak about the difficulties they faced coming forward.

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