Exploring Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Sexually Abused Children at Safe House

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Addis Ababa University


The main objective of this study was to assess the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder among sexually abused children and to assess factors that aggravate the onset of the symptoms. The study employed cross-sectional descriptive design with quantitative method of data collection. The participants of the study were 41children who are between the age of 12-18 and who are temporarily residing at Safe House for psychosocial rehabilitation for being sexually abused. To assess symptoms of PTSD two scales namely the Child’s Reactions to Traumatic Events Scale (CRTES-R) and Child Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Scale (CPSS) were utilized. The findings revealed that, all the studied sexually abused children at Safe House have shown full diagnostic criteria of PTSD. However, based on the participants’ scores in the two scales, participants were categorized under moderate and sever level of PTSD. Accordingly, when 95% participants categorized under moderate level of PTSD, 5% participants were categorized under sever level of PTSD in the PTSD diagnose scale. On the other hand, the result found in the revised PTSD reaction index categorized 39% participants under low and 61% participants under mild level of distress. Nature of abusive acts such as, frequent abuse, giving birth due to rape, the closeness of offenders’ relation with the victims and the response the victims got when they first disclose the abuse were significantly correlated with the occurrence of symptoms of PTSD. The type of counseling given to traumatized sexually abused children was also found to be different from what was supposed to be given to these children. Based on the study findings, to optimize the outcome of the treatment given to these children, professional social workers engagement in developing indigenous manuals and guidelines that help organizations provide these children with appropriate psychosocial service which is based on the specific sequelas of abuse and age category was recommended. Keywords: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Child sexual abuse, Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Distress Levels for the Child’s Reactions to Traumatic Events Scale(CRTESR), Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS), Safe House



Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; Child sexual abuse; Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Distress Levels for the Child’s Reactions to Traumatic Events Scale(CRTESR); Child PTSD Symptom Scale (CPSS); Safe House