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Almost all survivors of childhood abuse experience health and wellbeing consequences as adults, Australian data shows

As many as 83 per cent of Australian adults who suffered abuse as a child say they have experienced multiple health and wellbeing consequences as a result, according to a data from the Blue Knot Foundation.

The data, released ahead of Blue Knot Day on 24th October, was based on calls made to the Blue Knot helpline, established to help adult survivors of childhood trauma, including abuse. The helpline responds to more than 5,000 calls a year but the foundation says, due to resourcing restrictions, it misses more than 350 calls a month.

Based in information from close to 3,500 unidentified callers over an eight month period, the data shows that 88 per cent of callers disclosed having at least one adverse mental health impact associated with their childhood trauma with 34 per cent of those reporting complex post-traumatic stress disorder, 30 per cent reporting anxiety and 23 per cent depression.

Fifty-eight per cent of callers said childhood trauma has had substantial negative impacts on relationships – 34 per cent of those on their relationships with their families of origin, 22 per cent on partners and nine per cent on their immediate family. Forty-three per cent of callers said they had also experienced detrimental impacts to their emotional health.

Dr Cathy Kezelman, president of Blue Knot Foundation – formerly known as Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), said the statistics show the “human cost” of childhood trauma “is significant for a massive number of Australians”.

“These impacts are severe, affecting a person’s health, wellbeing, relationships, their careers, and their quality of life,” she said. “We know that people can and do recover with the right support but that support is often not affordable, accessible or available.”

A report released by the foundation has conservatively estimated the annual cost of unresolved childhood trauma in adults in Australia to be $9.1 billion.



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