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The relationship between child maltreatment, sexual abuse and subsequent suicide attempts

This briefing evaluates the relationship between child abuse (particularly sexual abuse) and other risk factors present during childhood, and subsequent suicide attempts. It concludes that suicide ideation is a common feature of children and young people who have experienced maltreatment or are at risk of maltreatment.

Findings are discussed in detail under the following headings: incidence rates; behaviours prior to suicide in a developmental context; sexual victimisation; school bullying and suicide; vulnerable populations and incidence rates; developmental considerations; the role of the media and the internet; recommendations for future research and practice.

Fiona Colquhoun
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC)