Adult Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse: A Literature Review

Dafna Tener*, Sharon B. Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Victims of childhood sexual abuse carry the experience of abuse into adulthood. One of the dilemmas victims face during adulthood is the decision to disclose or conceal the abuse. Although adult disclosure may be affected by former disclosure during childhood, adult survivors face new challenges and dilemmas, such as to whom, when, and how to tell. The purpose of this article is to review the domains found in the literature on survivors’ experiences regarding disclosure of child sexual abuse during adulthood, all of which were published between 1980 and 2013. Domains include decisions to disclose during adulthood, barriers and facilitators to disclosure and potential recipients of the disclosure, as well as the process of telling and its impact on survivors’ well-being. The authors present implications for policy, practice, and research.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)391-400
Number of pages10
JournalTrauma, Violence, and Abuse
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014.


  • child abuse
  • reporting/disclosure
  • sexual abuse


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