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A new review of previous studies into the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse has suggested that earlier mental health support for victims would reduce the chances of victims developing psychiatric conditions and substance misuse later in life.

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Childhood sexual abuse is known to be associated with a wide range of health conditions, from chronic pain to mental health problems. There have been many studies examining these links but these typically looked at one outcome in adulthood, and there has not been a synthesis examining the full breadth of international research evidence and its quality.

A new review of these previous studies led by Oxford University researchers, suggests that pre-emptive interventions for victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse should be prioritised to reduce the chances of victims developing common psychiatric conditions and substance misuse.

The researchers from the University’s Department of Psychiatry looked at quantitative reviews that used transparent and systematic searching strategies, also known as meta-analyses, of the research examining the chance of developing adult health conditions and psychosocial problems following childhood sexual abuse.

Read more (University of Oxford website)