Australia's National Prison Newspaper

Australia's National
Prison Newspaper

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About Time is the national newspaper for Australian prisons and detention facilities

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JULY 2024


JULY 2024




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Dealing With Childhood Abuse

By Warriors Advocacy

Warriors Advocacy supports survivors of institutional abuse by offering comprehensive and accessible services.

Willy Pleasance

Childhood abuse is a traumatic experience that can have a profound impact on a person's life, affecting their emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. Survivors of childhood abuse often struggle to cope with the emotional scars and memories of their traumatic experience, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation. However, with the right coping mechanisms and support, it is possible to heal and recover from childhood abuse.

Understanding the impact of childhood abuse

Childhood abuse can have a long-lasting impact on a person's life, affecting their:

  1. Self-esteem: Survivors of childhood abuse may struggle with feelings of low self-worth, shame, and guilt.
  2. Emotional regulation: Childhood abuse can lead to difficulties in managing emotions, leading to anxiety, depression, or anger.
  3. Trust issues: Survivors may struggle to trust others, including friends, family members, or romantic partners.
  4. Physical health: Childhood abuse can increase the risk of physical health problems, such as chronic pain, headaches, or digestive issues.

Coping mechanisms for dealing with childhood abuse

  1. Seeking support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist who is experienced in trauma recovery. Sharing your story with someone who understands can be incredibly healing.
  2. Journaling: Writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences can help process and release emotions.
  3. Mindfulness: Practise mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, to reduce stress and anxiety.
  4. Exercise: Engage in physical activity, such as yoga or walking, to release endorphins and improve mood.
  5. Creative expression: Express yourself through art, music, or writing to channel emotions into a positive outlet.
  6. Self-care: Prioritise self-care by getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and taking breaks from daily activities.
  7. Grounding techniques: Use grounding techniques, such as focusing on your five senses or using a grounding object, to help calm your mind and body.
  8. Forgiveness: Practise forgiveness towards yourself and others involved in the abuse. Forgiveness is not always easy, but it can be a powerful step towards healing.

Additional strategies for coping with childhood abuse

  1. Avoidance: Avoid triggers that may remind you of the abuse, such as people or places that remind you of the perpetrator.
  2. Blame-shifting: Avoid blaming yourself for the abuse or assuming that you deserved it.
  3. Reframing: Reframe negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself and the abuse.
  4. Boundary setting: Establish healthy boundaries with others to protect yourself from further harm.
  5. Self-compassion: Practise self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness and understanding.


Dealing with childhood abuse is a challenging and ongoing process that requires patience, support, and self-care. While coping with childhood abuse is not easy, there are several mechanisms that can help alleviate symptoms and promote healing and recovery. Remember that you are not alone in your journey towards healing; seeking support from trusted individuals or professionals can make a significant difference in your recovery.

Additional resources

  • National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-6264
  • Childhood Abuse Support Group (Online)
  • Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (ASCA) (Online)

Remember that healing is possible with time, support, and self-care.

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