Mental Health Support Vital for Child Abuse Survivors
Nearly 9 in 10 (89%) child sexual abuse survivors believe the abuse they experienced has negatively impacted on their mental health. This is the finding of a new report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, which also revealed that survivors don’t reveal what has happened to them for an average of 26 years.
It’s therefore no surprise that 47% of survivors consider specialist voluntary sector counselling and therapy the single most important support service following disclosure. After all, a large number of survivors said their abuse had negatively affected many aspects of their lives, from their intimate relationships and family life to their financial situation, their career and their education.
However, the APPG report also found that only 19% of survivors are aware that counselling and therapy services are available when they need it. Furthermore, just 16% of survivors said they were directed by police to appropriate specialist support services.
The APPG has therefore called on the government to fund a nationwide campaign to raise awareness of the issues around childhood sexual abuse, which could direct survivors and professionals to sources of support and information, dispel myths and highlight the potential impact of abuse on survivors.
“Signposting of services is poor, with survivors often given inaccurate information about the availability of services in their area,” the report stated. “Survivors prized easily accessible information about child sexual abuse and its impact. This empowered survivors, enabling them to make choices about their recovery, especially in the absence of professional expertise.”
However, it stated that on too many occasions, professionals didn’t understand abuse or how to respond to disclosure. That meant that in some cases, survivors had to request specific referrals from professionals.
“Services are not well integrated and there exists a confusing landscape of support that differs vastly in quality and availability across England and Wales,” the report continued. “It is not always clear for survivors where they can access support or what support is most appropriate for them.”
Why Claim Compensation for Abuse?
Our Abuse Claims Solicitors can help victims of abuse access the support they need.
We’ve been helping abuse victims claim their legal rights for more than 20 years, and have introduced our clients to a large network of support and survivor groups across the country.
The Head of our Abuse Claims department, Solicitor Peter Garsden said, “I have been advising the survivors of child abuse for the last 25 years, almost since the media started picking up on it. I have seen the support sector grow from nothing to a wider spread of dedicated groups, who constantly struggle for funding to enable them to survive.
“All the groups I am aware of cannot cope with the massive demand for support, so prevalent is abuse in our society. Whilst openness and the ability to disclose confidently is welcomed, there is not the countrywide service available to support victims, nor the appropriate signposting from public bodies, usually due to lack of awareness.
“More importantly there is a lack of funding available to enable many groups to operate efficiently.
"I am a member of the APPG, and am not surprised by the result of its investigations. It reflects my professional experience.”
Our specialist Abuse Solicitors have acted on behalf of people who have experienced:
- Abuse in a Foster Home
- Abuse in Local Authority Care
- Child Abuse
- Criminal Injury
- Domestic Abuse
- Elder Abuse
- Institutional Abuse
- Religious Abuse
- Ritual Abuse
- Sexual Exploitation
- Sports Abuse
In many abuse compensation cases, making a claim isn’t about financial gain. Instead, getting compensation represents a valuable recognition that what happened to them was wrong, and helps survivors gain a sense of closure.
Taking legal action can also significantly aid the survivor’s recovery process, as the compensation they receive can help them get appropriate treatment such as counselling, so they can rebuild their lives.
For free legal advice call our Abuse Claims Solicitors
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Simpson Millar Solicitors are a national law firm with over 500 staff and offices in Bristol, Cardiff, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Manchester.