Almost half of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse have an illness or condition that affects their lives, research from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has found.
Nearly half of survivors who shared their experiences with the IICSA’S Truth Project described that they had a condition that limits their ability to carry out day-to-day activities, including blindness, problems with hearing, mobility and memory.
Chris Tuck, a member of the Inquiry’s Victims and Survivors Consultative Panel, said: “Speaking as a survivor of child sexual abuse, the Truth Project provided a safe and supportive place for me to share my experience, and help contribute to change.
“I now live with PTSD, and physical pain related to mental distress, something which affects the way I live my life every day. If we are to protect children in the future, it’s important that we hear from everyone who has experienced abuse, to better understand the lasting impacts and help prevent it from ever happening again.”
Figures released earlier this month by the Office for National Statistics revealed that 7.5 per cent of adults have experienced sexual abuse before the age of 16, and those with a disability were twice as likely to have experienced sexual abuse than those without a disability. The figures showed 13.4 per cent of people were disabled compared to 6.6 per cent without a disability.
Virtually all survivors who shared their account were impacted by the abuse. Almost 40 per cent experienced depression and almost one in 10 described a physical injury as a direct consequence of the abuse.
The Inquiry has developed the Truth Project to enable victims and survivors to share their experiences. The project is accessible to individual needs, making reasonable adjustments to ensure that survivors with a disability can play a crucial role in preventing all children from being abused in future. The Inquiry has established a service for survivors who are Deaf or have difficulties hearing, providing dedicated sign language videos and the option to attend a private session with Deaf facilitators.
Survivors of child sexual abuse who would like to share their experiences in writing, over the phone or in person can get in touch with the Inquiry’s Truth Project. Visit the website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.