Substance abuse in victims of sexual abuse

In recent criminal and civil proceedings in the news, defense lawyers and institutional defendants have pointed to child sexual abuse victim's substance abuse as a means of attempting to persuade a jury that the sexual abuse victim is not credible. However, this argument is short sided and is often done to persuade jurors who might not fully comprehend the depths of emotional scarring that sexual abuse victims suffer. Sexual assault and sexual abuse victims often turn to alcohol or other substances as a means to cope with emotional distress. This unhealthy reaction to the abuse allows the sexual abuse victim to temporarily escape from reality and numb the pain of what they have endured. Unfortunately, substance abuse often leads to more problems, so it is important to gain a better perspective of the abuse which can be provided in the course of counseling.

Trauma therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can offer services to sexual abuse victims to help them better understand the abuse they have suffered and help them chart a course toward recovery. As an attorney for victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault, we often work closely and stay in communication with these health care providers to ensure that our clients best interest are being served. Some mental health care providers encourage clients to pursue civil litigation as a means for gaining closure and confronting the perpetrator in a controlled environment. Other mental health care providers might opine that a client is not yet ready to engage the course of civil litigation. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to sexual abuse it is important to understand that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Every day we provide legal counsel to victims of sexual abuse and their family members and we also help them to get the resources that they need for recovery. We do not charge for phone calls, so if you have questions do not hesitate to contact Andreozzi & Associates at 717-525-9124

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