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Acknowledging complexity in the impacts of sexual victimisation trauma

Author(s)Wall, Liz & Antonia Quadara
Title Acknowledging complexity in the impacts of sexual victimisation trauma
Source ACSSA issues,2014, No. 16, pp 1-23
Date 2012
Document type Journal article
Summary This article explores the complex trauma, often experienced by victims of sexual assault, defined broadly as the type of trauma that is linked to a history of repeated interpersonal victimisation that has impacted adversely on a person's mental and potentially physical and social health across their lifespan. The impact of sexual victimisation trauma on victims is discussed in detail, including mental health and high-risk behaviours such as substance abuse and risky sexual behaviour. Victims of sexual assault in vulnerable groups, such as incarcerated women, Indigenous women and homeless women, demonstrate high levels of complex trauma. The authors emphasise the importance of acknowledging complex trauma in service delivery and providing trauma-informed services. Trauma-informed services understand trauma and in particular complex trauma, even though the service they provide is not specifically targeted at the trauma. It is recommended that agencies design policy and services to facilitate the care that people suffering complex trauma may require.
Keywords Sexual assault; sexual victimisation; complex trauma; trauma-informed services; PTSD; service delivery

Sexual assault