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Suicide of Perpetrators After Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 12 Issue: 1 Dated: (1988) Pages: 119-121
N J Wild
Date Published
3 pages
A retrospective review of cases of attempted or completed adult suicides involving adults accused or convicted of child sexual abuse in Leeds, England, between January 1984 and August 1986 identified nine such cases.
These included six completed and three attempted suicides. All cases involved males. Charges included incest, indecent assault, sex offenses against unrelated children, and running a child sex ring. Methods of suicide included hanging, drug overdose, carbon monoxide poisoning, and wrist slashing. Five of six perpetrators who completed suicide were fathers or stepfathers of the victims, while all three cases of attempted suicide involved extrafamilial abuse. The major predisposing risk factors for completed suicide included depressive illness and alcoholism. In one case, the perpetrator murdered his stepdaughter and wife prior to suicide, suggesting family members may be at risk. Because disclosure of sexual abuse can cause profound psychological stress for all involved, a careful assessment of risk factors and monitoring is advised. 6 references.