Skip to main content

IICSA published its final Report in October 2022. This website was last updated in January 2023.

IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Final report

G.2: “I have been affected in different ways, at different times”

2. Victims and survivors described how their experiences of the impact of child sexual abuse changed over time.

3. Some victims and survivors initially repressed their experiences of child sexual abuse. One Truth Project participant said: “I just buried it deep, deep, deep down”.[1] JA-A1 said that he tried to “bury the awful memories finding it too shameful”.[2] Attempts to bury child sexual abuse sometimes resulted in harm later in life:

I suppose the repression of what had happened manifested a raging, angry, dysfunctional, post-traumatic syndrome-type person. I’m dysfunctional, I’m a wreck; I’m a psychological total nervous wreck.[3]

Truth Project participant

4. In many cases, a significant life event triggered the impact of child sexual abuse to emerge suddenly later in life. Pablo was sexually abused throughout his childhood. He said he suppressed the harm it caused until his wife fell pregnant. At that point, “life became unbearable”: he began to experience flashbacks and depression. He struggled with fears that he might sexually abuse his own children.[4]

5. Some victims and survivors said that the impact of child sexual abuse came and went throughout their lives. Sharon described intermittent periods of self-sabotage, usually occurring after personal achievements. She wanted to “become [her] potential”.[5] Others described significant difficulties earlier in their life, followed by a long period of stability and recovery. Often, these victims and survivors mentioned a single turning point, such as receiving effective treatment for mental health conditions or drug addiction. Dougal committed a criminal offence but the judge did not send him to prison, saying “I hope you get the help you deserve”.[6] Dougal described this as an important turning point for him; he received rehabilitation treatment for his drug addiction and was progressing on his recovery programme.

Back to top