Treatment for Child Sexual Abuse

The initial approach to treating a person who has been a victim of sexual abuse is dependant upon several important factors:

    Age at the time of presentation
    Circumstances of presentation for treatment
    Co-morbid conditions

The goal of treatment is not only to treat current mental health issues, but to prevent future ones.
Children and adolescents

Children often present for treatment in one of several circumstances, including criminal investigations, custody battles, problematic behaviors, and referrals from child welfare agencies.

The three major modalities for therapy with children and teenagers are family therapy, group therapy, and individual therapy. Which course is used depends on a variety of factors that must be assessed on a case by case basis. For instance, treatment of young children generally requires strong parental involvement, and can benefit from family therapy. Adolescents tend to be more independent, and can benefit from individual or group therapy. The modality also shifts during the course of treatment, for example group therapy is rarely used in the initial stages, as the subject matter is very personal and/or embarrassing.

Major factors that affect both the pathology and response to treatment include the type and severity of the sexual act, its frequency, the age at which it occurred, and the child’s family of origin.