Changing the Trajectory of Child Sexual Abuse Victims

MAY 12, 2016
MD Magazine Staff
Researchers from the University of Alberta suggest that a complex multimodal program delivered at a dedicated facility and with a primary therapeutic focus on trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy appears to significantly reduce Child Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (CPPS) scores over 4 weeks.
Called the Little Warriors program, it is the first intensive program to demonstrate such a clinical impact, suggesting a breakthrough for the lasting mental health of child sexual abuse victims. Additionally, the study facility, the Be Brave Branch, is the first and only facility of its kind to offer intensive, dedicated, and multimodal treatment to child (aged 8 to 12) sexual abuse survivors. The program commissioned the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry under the lead of Peter Silverstone and Jacqui Linder, PhD, both professors in the Department of Psychiatry.
“People who have experienced child sexual abuse have much higher rates of problems that affect both their psychological and physical health for many years,” explained Silverstone. “If you look at the people who subsequently end up on the street or homeless, large numbers of them suffered abuse—physical, sexual and emotional—as children. For the past 20 to 30 years, the primary method has been intermittent treatment. A therapist will meet with a survivor every week or every two weeks—and the fact of the matter is that has been shown to not be the most effective. This study represents a paradigm shift in the way that we suggest children survivors should be treated. This comprehensive approach is making a difference. We are changing the trajectory of children’s lives.”

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