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LGBTQ+ child abuse victims are being ‘blamed for their abuse’, report finds

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Child abuse victims who are LGBTQ+ face a unique set of challenges in disclosing their experiences, accessing support and forming adult relationships, a ground-breaking report has found.

Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers uncomfortable. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse published its ‘Engagement with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning + victims and survivors’ on 24 May, which concluded that some LGBTQ+ child survivors are blamed for their abuse.

Many grew up to have a damaged sense of identity and mental health, with some finding it hard to understand their sexual orientation or gender identity because of their experiences. “Stigma and myths have been very prominent…There is far too much emphasis on the survivor and victim blaming and little understanding of LGBTQ+ lived experiences,” one survivor said. “This leaves the survivor feeling unheard and disheartened which makes seeking help much harder.” Some of those who had experienced sexual abuse were labelled as being LGBTQ+ because of the gender of their abuser, as opposed to being allowed to define themselves in the way they prefer.

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