Whether you realize it or not, child sexual abuse affects all of us. 

The impact of child sexual abuse is devastating for survivors, but also affects those close to them, as well as the surrounding community. It is the root cause of many social and health issues and touches all of us in one way or another.

The Impact Is Tremendous

Watch this short video to fully understand how child sexual abuse affects everyone.

The Economic Impact

The health and social impacts of child sexual abuse on a survivor last a lifetime and affect us all socially and financially. The average lifetime cost per victim of child abuse is $210,012*, costing the U.S. billions annually.

These expenses are largely paid for by the public sector – the taxpayer.

The costs include:

  • Healthcare costs
  • Criminal justice costs
  • Child welfare costs
  • Special education costs
  • Productivity losses

*Fang, X., Brown, D., Florence, C., Mercy, J. (2012) The economic burden of child maltreatment in the United States and implications for prevent.  Child Abuse & Neglect, 36:2,156-165

The Social Impact

There are many social costs as a result of child sexual abuse including:

The costs include:

  • Delinquency and crime, often stemming from substance abuse, are more prevalent in adolescents with a history of child sexual abuse. Adults survivors are also more likely to become involved in crime, both as a perpetrator and as a victim.
  • Academic problems
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Sexual behavior and over-sexualized behavior problems

The Health Impact

There are many health-related costs to survivors of sexual abuse. Generally, adult victims have higher rates of healthcare utilization and report significantly more health complaints when compared to adults without a history of child sexual abuse. Some health related issues include:

The costs include:

  • Emotional and mental health problems are often the first consequence and sign of child sexual abuse.
  • Substance abuse problems are common, often beginning in childhood or adolescence and lasting into adulthood.
  • Obesity and eating disorders are more common in women who have a history of child sexual abuse. The resulting health issues as a result of obesity includes diabetes and heart disease.

For statistics on the impact of child sexual abuse, visit our statistics page.