Understanding the Long-Term Effects of Child Sexual Assault

The occurrence and effects of child sexual assault is a widespread problem—not just in Kansas and Missouri, but all across the country.

In fact, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), child protective services agencies in the U.S. substantiated or found evidence to indicate that more than 57,300 children were sexually abused in fiscal year 2016 alone (October 1, 2015-September 30, 2016).

The long-term effects of child sexual assault can be devastating for victims. , having the potential to negatively impact nearly every part of their lives. However, hope and healing is possible if victims have access to treatments they need for physical and psychological injuries.

Changes to the Brain

Childhood traumas such as sexual abuse can affect the development and structure of the brain. Brain scans of such victims show diminished volume and a differently-structured hippocampus—which controls learning and memory—compared to individuals who weren’t abused as children.

The brains of people previously abused also show changes to the amygdala, medial prefrontal cortex, neural circuitry, brain wave patterns, inflammation and healing response, and neurotransmitter levels. The earlier or more horrific the abuse, the more profound the biological changes to the victim’s brain.

Serious Health Problems

Victims of child sexual abuse report a wide range of serious health problems. In fact, people who experienced sexual abuse as children are 1.5 times more likely to report negative health outcomes later in life than people who weren’t abused.

Research indicates that people who suffered early trauma have an increased risk for ulcers, diabetes, cardiac disease and disorders, inflammatory disorders, autoimmune issues, and other maladies.

Psychological Disorders

In addition to the physical violation, sexual abuse also robs victims of their sense of safety and security. The trauma of the abuse can lead to long-lasting psychological issues, including poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Victims may also experience dysfunctional relationships, insomnia, and mood swings as a result of their abuse. In addition, suicide attempts are more common among the victims of child sexual abuse.

Self-Destructive Behavior

Sadly, adults who were sexually abused as children often engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as self-harm, promiscuity, and illicit substance use or excessive alcohol consumption. As a result, these individuals often have a higher risk of contracting or developing sexually transmitted diseases, hepatitis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other issues.

Help Protect Your Child’s Rights

Learning that someone has violated your child and exposed them to long-term negative effects can be both heartbreaking and infuriating.

If your child was sexually abused by someone at a daycare, school, camp, or other childcare facility, you may be eligible to file a negligence- or breach of contract-related lawsuit on their behalf and seek compensation for physical and psychological injuries. Filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court will allow you to seek a broad range of damages, including abuse-related medical expenses, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

You may also be able to recover lost wages and other losses incurred while dealing with your child’s abuse. A thorough lawsuit will not only seek compensation for your child’s current medical expenses, but will also include allowances for reasonable future treatment needs.

The skilled attorneys with DRZ Law can help you fight for the justice and compensation your child deserves. DRZ Law, based in Leawood, Kansas, represents child sexual abuse victims throughout the Kansas City metro and across the U.S. Do you have questions about child sexual abuse and your child’s rights? Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation.

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