Information for Survivors.


The impact of childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence and rape

The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence and rape can include many emotional, psychological and physical conditions. The experience of sexual assault or abuse at any age and whether male or female can have devastating effects on every aspect of a person’s being and life – on their mind, their body, their behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

The following list includes some of the effects now being recognised and acknowledged as the consequences of childhood sexual abuse, sexual violence or rape on many victims and survivors. The Survivors Trust wants to stress that it is not inevitable that all victims will suffer from all effects – the mix, severity and complexity is a unique experience for each individual.

Post Traumatic Stress symptoms

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Dissociation

  • Flashbacks

  • Nightmares

  • Irritability and outbursts of anger

  • Suicidal Thoughts

  • Suicide

  • Alcohol Misuse and dependence

  • Sexual problems

  • Confusion about sexuality

Eating Disorders

  • Self-injury and self harming behaviour

  • Transient psychotic episodes

  • Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Dissociative Identity disorder

  • Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain

  • Increased rates of physical conditions like heart disease and cancer


  • Re-victimisation

  • Prostitution

  • Criminal behaviour (including for a small minority sexual offences)

  • Low self-esteem

  • Lack of confidence

  • Sleep Problems

  • Parenting Problems

  • Relationship Problems