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More than one in 20 was sexually abused in their childhood years

AT LEAST one-in-20 Irish people over the age of 50 experienced sex abuse in their childhood, a new study has found.

Think-tank the ESRI has conducted its first research into the economic impact of abuse on the lives of adult survivors.

The joint study with Trinity College used data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), involving 8,500 people over 50.

The survey found that 5.6pc of men and 6.7pc of women were abused before the age of 18.

And ESRI researcher, Prof Alan Barrett, said: "This may be an underestimate given that people are reluctant to report the issue."

Contributors were interviewed between 2009 and 2011 about a wide range of issues such as income, wealth, job status and health.

The analysis in the study may have particular use in assessing the compensation due to victims of abuse.


Men who have been sexually abused in childhood are more than twice as likely to be out of work due to sickness and disability, the report found.

The report found 17pc of men who were abused were not working as a result of being sick or permanently disabled. This compared to 8pc for those who were not abused.

Meanwhile, 14pc of female survivors did not have job for the same reason - compared to 6pc among those who had not been abused.

The study confirmed that knock-on effects of abuse are "real and substantial". The findings on household incomes showed they were 34pc lower for men who were abused in childhood.

They were also twice as likely to be living alone compared to other men.