Child sexual abuse and drug/ alcohol /mental health issues

Graham, B. (2020) The CSA Centre’s Practice Leads’ Pilot Programme on Child Sexual Abuse and Substance Misuse, London, Barnardo’s.

This service development programme was based around the now established links between being sexually abused as a child (CSA) and developing issues with mental health, and/ or drug and/or alcohol later on in life.

This programme aimed to improve practitioners’ understanding, knowledge and practice, by sharing reasearch and first-hand accounts, to encourage them to make it a matter of normal routine to ask service users if they had been abused when a child.

The evidence shared showed that people want to be asked and that disclosing is often a key step in their recovery. However both professionals and service users tend to wait for the other person to raise the issue first. Professionals were said to tend to fear retraumatising the person. At the same time those who have experienced this crime talk about living with trauma and shame every day, and need reassurance that the professional can handle it, before disclosing.