Side Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse Have Wide Range of Long-Term Health Outcomes

Carl Saiontz

By Carl Saiontz
Posted November 11, 2019


In recent years, a growing number of survivors of childhood sexual abuse are stepping forward to pursue lawsuits against perpetrators and organizations that worked to cover up the problems for decades. The litigation not only holds responsible parties accountable, but will help prevent churches, clubs and other organizations that are in a position to protect children from turning a blind eye to the problems.

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A recent study highlights the serious and wide-ranging side effects of sexual abuse, which extend beyond psychiatric damages and often involve various long-term health complications.

In findings published in the medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry on September 10, researchers from Oxford indicate that childhood sexual abuse tripled the risk of “conversion disorders”, resulting in psychologically-created blindness, paralysis and other neurological problems that may have no signs of physical damage, as well as personality disorders.

Researchers looked at data from 19 meta-analysis, involving more than 4 million participants.

Given the lack of prior attention researchers have paid to the long-term problems from sexual abuse, many of these studies were of low quality, the researchers warned. However, the findings still provide important insight into the side effects survivors often face.

According to the studies, effects of sexual abuse during childhood appears to be associated with more than triple the risk of conversion disorder, and almost triple the risk of borderline personality, anxiety, and depression.

Childhood sexual abuse problems were also linked to an increased risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia, as well as substance abuse. However, researchers noted that only the studies into post-traumatic stress disorder and schizophrenia were of “high quality.”

Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawyers

Following years of cover-ups by the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other large organizations, it has become clear in recent years that many devastating long-term side effects of childhood sexual abuse may have been avoided if institutions in a position to protect children had adequately investigated credible allegations and taken steps to identify abusers, instead of covering up and enabling the conduct.

The findings of this new study highlight the importance of recent changes to the childhood sexual abuse statute of limitations in several states, which have extended the amount of time to pursue lawsuits against perpetrators and responsible organizations, and provide many adults with previously time-barred claims to now step forward and pursue justice.

The childhood sexual abuse lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. provide free consultations and case evaluations to help determine whether a claim can be pursued for damages. It may not be too late to do something about sexual abuse as a child!


2 Comments • Add Your Comments

  • Vanessa says:

    Not only sexual abuse but mainly mental and physical abuse can lead to devasteing mental illness. I am living proof.

    Posted on December 16, 2019 at 6:04 pm

  • Angela says:

    Don’t forget the next big organizational cult -the JWs. Can they be held accountable for practices against underage children for verbal sexual abuse? In addition to psychological trauma excommunicating a 14 yr old who never was baptized in the organization?

    Posted on July 12, 2022 at 6:50 am

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