Adults abused in childhood
Advice for adult survivors of child abuse and neglect
Victims of child abuse can be affected by the experience during adulthood. If you are an adult who experienced child abuse or neglect, help is available.
The NSPCC recognises that not all children and young people who were abused in childhood experience difficulties as adults and that many recover.
We also understand that problems may resurface at particular times and that people may want to access help and support as they need it.
Need for support
We receive a number of contacts from adult survivors of child abuse or neglect who need support for a variety of reasons including:
- worrying that their abuser is still in the community and may have access to children or young people
- struggling with parenting or relationships because of the abuse they have experienced
- coping with the thoughts and emotions they have because of the abuse.
Effects of abuse in childhood
Our helpline counsellors understand how childhood experiences of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect can affect adults, for example:
- depression and other mental health issues
- anger, sadness or other strong emotions
- low self-esteem
- substance use
- resurfacing childhood memories that cause distress and confusion
- poor physical health.
Talk to us
We understand how difficult it is for people to talk about abuse and neglect, whether current or in the past, so we offer:
- a free 24/7 service 365 days a week
- the option of communicating by phone, text, email or online form
- access to translation services and textphone and webcam
- the choice to remain anonymous.
If you were abused as child or you are supporting someone who experienced abuse in childhood, please get in touch with us - it's free, and you don't have to say who you are.
Where to find more help and advice
NHS choices: Information on therapy and counselling available from the NHS and through your GP. Lists other organisations providing talking therapy services.
It's good to talk: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website to explain what to expect from counselling and psychotherapy. Includes a directory of therapists and counsellors.
National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC): A charity providing a free telephone support line and email for anyone abused in childhood.
The Survivors Trust (TST): A national umbrella agency for over 130 specialist rape, sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse support organisations throughout the UK and Ireland.
Moira Anderson Foundation: A national charity supporting children and adults affected by childhood sexual abuse.