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Back to basics: Dealing with child sexual abuse in South Africa

2 Clinical Points Only Scholarship Access

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Childhood sexual abuse is associated with a host of long-term negative outcomes, including physical disease states, psychiatric disorders, relationship difficulties and occupational problems.

Children who have been abused are at significantly higher risk of becoming dependent on nicotine, drugs or alcohol, developing eating disorders (especially bulimia nervosa), of suffering from major depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder and of attempting suicide. Even children who appear to be coping and are asymptomatic after disclosure of abuse, are vulnerable to developing symptoms as time passes, which is described as the “sleeper effect”. (Putnam, 2003)

The World Health Organization surveyed 51 945 adults in 21 countries, including South Africa, to assess the association between childhood adversity and lifetime psychiatric disorders in adults. The team found that childhood adversities associated with maladaptive family functioning (notably child abuse and neglect as well as parental mental illness) were the strongest predictors of disorders and accounted for 29.8% of all psychiatric disorders across countries, which in turn impacts negatively on the next generation of child and family life.

Childhood sexual abuse impacts on children’s school performance. De Bellis et al (2011) report that children who have been sexually abused show more school discipline problems and suspensions and poorer long-term intellectual and academic achievement.

Child sexual abuse impacts negatively on society. Putnam et al (2003) show that victims of child sexual abuse are more likely to come into conflict with the law, be sexually promiscuous and fall pregnant before finishing school.

Who Should Enroll

Healthcare Professionals


Only accredited for Healthcare Professionals according to HCPSA's Medical and Dental Board Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals for 3 Ethical CEU's on Level 1.


To qualify for the certificate of completion for this course, participants should successfully complete the assessment process.


Participants will be assessed by means of a multiple-choice questionnaire.

Course Fee

This course is available at no cost for healthcare professionals.

To access the product, please login or register to continue