Report: More than half of child abuse victims face further trauma as adults

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More than half of adults who were abused as children go on to experience domestic abuse later in life, according to official analysis.

Statistics suggest those who suffered abuse in childhood are more likely to fall victim at the hands of spouses, partners or relatives as adults.

Findings from the Crime Survey of England and Wales for the year ending March 2016 indicate that around one in five people aged 16 to 59 - around 6.2 million individuals - were abused in some way as a child.

This could involve psychological or physical abuse, sexual assault, or witnessing domestic abuse.

The new report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said: "But the impact of what is often a hidden crime does not always end there. A higher proportion of survivors of child abuse went on to experience domestic abuse in adulthood, compared with those who suffered no childhood abuse."

The analysis found that of people who suffered abuse as children, 51% had experienced domestic abuse - such as sexual assault, non-sexual abuse or stalking by a partner or family member - since the age of 16. This compared with 13% of those who were abused in childhood but stated that they had not encountered domestic abuse as adults.

Percentages were not specified for respondents who said they did not know, could not remember, or did not wish to answer.

The paper also said:

:: More than one in three (36%) of those who experienced abuse by a family member as a child were abused by a partner as an adult;

:: Women who were survivors of childhood abuse were four times more likely to experience sexual assault after the age of 16 than male survivors (43% compared with 11%);

:: Adult survivors of childhood abuse were more likely to have taken illegal drugs in the last year than those who had not experienced abuse as a child (12% compared with 8%).

The NSPCC said a child's experience of abuse "must never dictate their future".

A spokesman for the charity said: "Although survivors may bear the scars of their experiences, this should not define who they are.

"Swift mental health support, resources for police to investigate child abusers, and a society that knows what abuse is and will step in if they suspect it can all help survivors go on to lead happy, fulfilled, lives."