Help for an adult

If you experienced abuse as a child or young person you may be having any number of feelings and reactions, in any combination.

They may fluctuate and come and go, or change over time.

Some of the reactions you might experience include:

  • Fear 
  • Shock and disbelief 
  • Doubting your own memories or reactions 
  • Shame and embarrassment 
  • Fear that no-one would believe you or want to know 
  • Fear of people finding out 
  • Anger 
  • Distressing memories and/or nightmares 

These are common reactions. However, each person has his or her own responses to these experiences, so whatever you are experiencing is normal for you. If the effects of abuse are interfering with your life, with what you want to do or the way you relate to other people, you may want to find some support to help you to work through the experiences and move on. 

You may not want to do that now. At some time in the future, you may realise that something which is troubling you is related to the experience of abuse, and you may decide that you would benefit from some support. It is up to you. No-one can tell you what is best for you.

If you know someone who has been abused

Many of us know people who have been abused, including people in our family, friends or neighbours. It can be difficult to know what to do if we want to help them. The most important things to remember are to:

  • Believe them
  • Believe what they say about how it has affected them
  • Let them know that you do not blame them, that it is always the fault of the person who abused them
  • Remind them that there are people they can talk to about it. 

The Blue Knot Foundation, formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA), is a not-for-profit organisation working to improve the lives of adults with a history of childhood trauma. Their details are:

Website: – for videos, fact sheets, information and resources for adults who have experienced childhood trauma Blue Knot Helpline: 1300 657 380 (9am-5pm AEST 7 days) or – for short-term counselling support from professional trauma-informed counsellors

Professional development training:

Click on this link for our National Support Directory