The relationship between child maltreatment, sexual abuse and subsequent suicide attempts (PDF, 416KB)
evaluates the link between child abuse and suicide in childhood or later life and looks at other risk factors present during childhood and early adolescence that are likely to compound the effects of such abuse.
Often, suicide ideation (thinking and planning suicide) and suicide attempts are preceded by other self-destructive behaviours, such as self-harming.
Current statistics suggest that suicide is relatively rare in younger age groups, with no official recordings of child suicides under age 10.
This reflects the view that children must be of an age where they are capable of understanding the meaning of the act, and death before this age tends to be regarded as a tragic accident rather than a deliberate attempt to commit suicide.
However, the research suggests that suicide ideation is a common occurrence among children and young people who have experienced maltreatment. There are strong links particularly between sexual abuse, bullying and suicide attempts.