Sex abuse victims ‘failed’ by mental health services

Sexual abuse victims with mental health problems are failed by
mental health services, according to a new report.

‘Beyond Trauma’ is based on an innovative two-year research
programme by Sarah Nelson and Sarah Phillips commissioned by
Edinburgh Association for Mental Health and Edinburgh
University’s sociology department. Among its conclusions is
the high incidence of depression, eating disorders,
self-mutilation, panic attacks and other traumatic symptoms
suffered by victims.

Nelson and Phillips have found that most sexual abuse victims
are treated poorly by mental health services with psychiatrists
failing to recognise the significance of the abuse, “bouncing”
difficult patients between services and a lack of specialist

The report makes more than 30 recommendations to the Scottish
executive and other key agencies including: a national out-of-hours
helpline; a “crisis house” for victims; staff training and the
creation of an agency to support them; and the needs of sexual
abuse victims to be addressed in community care plans.

Malcolm Chisholm, deputy minister for community care, is
expected to respond to the report.


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