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2010 Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Need a source? Victims of childhood sexual abuse live with life-long consequences

For immediate Release – April 15, 2010 – (Toronto) – In the ongoing worldwide media coverage of abuse of children by clergy, one thing seems to be overlooked – the ongoing effects of the abuse on the mental health and well-being of the victims.
Available for interview is Dr. David Wolfe, Director of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s Centre for Prevention Science and a specialist in issues affecting children and youth. Dr. Wolfe is the author of several books on children’s mental health and conducts research on the mental health effects of childhood sexual abuse.
Having assessed many victims of clergy abuse, Dr. Wolfe sees that long after the abuse has ended, the scars remain. “Children who are victims of abuse by people in a position of trust suffer life-long consequences,” said Dr. Wolfe. “When a child is victimized by a member of the clergy, they often suffer feelings of shame, guilt, and mistrust many years later. These offenses also have negative effects on the religious faith of the individual as well as on their relationships with other adults, which in turn can lead to more problems.”  Healing and recovery from abuse is made more difficult when persons or institutions minimize, deny, or avoid responsibility.
Dr. Wolfe recently received the Donald O. Hebb Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology as a Science from the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Blanche L. Ittleson Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Delivery of Children’s Services andthe Promotion of Children’s Mental Healthfrom the American Orthopsychiatric Association.  [same award]
Dr Wolfe is available for interview by telephone only.
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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, as well as one of the world's leading research centres in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues.  CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.
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