Interventions for Sexual Abuse

Interventions for Sexual Abuse

Prathibha Augustus Kurishinkal (Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, India)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3958-2.ch018

Abstract

Sexual abuse is a serious social issue with adverse psychosocial consequences in the person who is victimized. High prevalence rate of abuse in both children and adults, no matter female or male, indicate that anyone can be a victim of this hazard. The manifestation of mental-health outcomes is diverse in nature and different across individuals and is determined by complex array of factors. This calls for the application of intervention techniques that are well-established by empirical research to be effective among victims of sexual abuse. This chapter is an attempt to discuss treatment methods established as effective and also other methods that are in use, though with limited research literature on its effectiveness or efficacy, for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other prominent and debilitating psychological and interpersonal effects of sexual abuse. Further, special issues concerning research and practice as well as future directions are outlined.
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Impact Of Child Sexual Abuse On Development Of Child

The World Health Organization (2002) reported that about 73 million boys and 150 million girls under age of 18 years had experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives. Further, in a meta-analytic study that analyzed 65 studies in 22 countries reported that about 7.9% males and 19.7% females had faced sexual abuse universally (Wihbey, 2011). However, these rates could increase considering the issues associated with disclosure as well as stigma surrounding sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse of children and adolescents has serious consequences on their physiological and psychological functioning. Studies have provided evidence on the impact of stress due to childhood adversity (including sexual abuse) on brain development and associated malfunction of immunological and neuro-endocrine systems. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis has been the focus of study to understand the relationship between childhood adversity and atypical development of the system. Evidence from neuro-imaging studies pointed to the existence of structural and functional differences in brain of maltreated children who exhibit mental-health issues (Odebrecht et al., 2011; McCrory, De Brito & Viding, 2010). Research indicates that sexually abused children are at increased risk for developing serious health conditions. Survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to feel sick often, undergo surgical interventions and are at increased risk of developing chronic pain syndromes (Felitti, 1991; Kendal-Tackett, 2002). Child sexual abuse is also found to be associated with ischemic heart disease, cancer, chronic lung disease, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, chronic spinal pain and severe headaches. Unwanted pregnancy and abortion is a major health issue when it comes to female victims (Scott et al., 2011; Wyatt, Guthrie & Notgrass, 1992).

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