Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
Staff with a specific research interest:
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is an alarming social problem that unfortunately occurs, in some form, to approximately 30 percent of children in our community. Although a large amount of research on the sequelae of CSA has established a significant relationship between a reported history of CSA and a range of mental health and self-destructive problems, recurring methodological limitations remain in the field.
Research from our study group involved the largest known sample of 2759 official cases of CSA followed up for over 40 years and compared to peers in the general population. Our study confirms that while not all victims of childhood sexual abuse have later mental health problems or fatally harm themselves, they do pose a significantly higher risk for such deleterious outcomes compared to those in the general population. This research is one of the first studies to reliably demonstrate a significant relationship between CSA and schizophrenic spectrum disorders, as well as completed suicide.
Researchers at the CFBS are responsible for ongoing world-leading research into the long-term outcomes of CSA. Currently, the Centre is conducting research on Child sexual abuse and subsequent offending and victimisation: A 45-year follow-up study funded by the Criminology Research Council.
Key publications by CFBS researchers are listed below, and additional publications can be found on the Reports and Publications page.
Cutajar, M., Mullen, P., Ogloff, J., Thomas, S., Wells, D., Spataro, J. (2010). Suicide and fatal overdose in child sexual abuse victims: A historical cohort study. Medical Journal of Australia, 192, 184-187.
Cutajar, M., Mullen, P., Ogloff, J., Thomas, S., Wells, D., Spataro, J. (in press). Psychopathology in a large cohort of sexually abused children followed up to 43-years. Child Abuse & Neglect
Cutajar, M., Mullen, P., Ogloff, J., Thomas, S., Wells, D., Spataro, J. (in submission). A study of schizophrenic and other psychotic disorders in a cohort of sexually abused children
Fergusson, D., Mullen, P. (1999). Childhood sexual abuse. An evidence based perspective. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc