Child Sexual Abuse,Links to Later Sexual Exploitation:High Risk Sexual Behavior and Prevention Treatment Programs
Document Type Article
Trauma, Violence and Abuse, 2010, Vol. 11(4), 159-177.
This paper reviews the literature on the nature and incidence of child sexual abuse, explores the link between child sexual abuse and later sexual exploitation, and reviews the literature on prevention strategies and effective interventions in child sexual abuse services. Our understanding of the international epidemiology of child sexual abuse is considerably greater than it was just 10 years ago, and studies from around the world are examined. Childhood sexual abuse can involve a wide number of psychological sequelae, including low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Numerous studies have noted that child sexual abuse victims are vulnerable to later sexual revictimization, as well as the link between child sexual abuse and later engagement in high-risk sexual behaviour. Survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to have multiple sex partners, become pregnant as teenagers, and experience sexual assault as adults. Various models which attempt to account for this inter-relationship are presented; most invoke mediating variables such as low self-esteem, drug/alcohol use, PTSD and distorted sexual development. Prevention strategies for child sexual abuse are examined including media campaigns, school-based prevention programmes, and therapy with abusers. The results of a number of meta-analyses are examined. However, researchers have identified significant methodological limitations in the extant research literature that impede the making of recommendations for implementing existing therapeutic programmes unreservedly.