With studies showing an average of 6 to 10 percent of psychiatrists and psychologists sexually abusing their patients, including children as young as three, Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is encouraging victims of such abuse to contact it and speak out. Coinciding with April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, CCHR also launched a petition calling for uniform laws to prosecute sexual harassment and assault of mental health patients, calling the problem catastrophic. The sexual crimes committed by psychiatrists are estimated at 37 times greater than rapes occurring in the general community, one U.S. law firm stated, estimating that about 150,000 female patients have been assaulted. CCHR, a mental health watchdog, points to studies showing that mental health practitioners abusing their patients are often repeat offenders. A U.S. national survey of therapist-client sex involving minors also revealed one out of 20 clients who had been sexually abused by their therapist was a minor, with girls as young as three and boys as young as seven. Clinicians have compared psychotherapist-patient sexual involvement to rape, child molestation, and incest, putting victims at increased risk of suicide, according to the study, “Psychotherapists’ Sexual Relationships with Their Patients” in Annals of Health Law. The findings of a national study of 958 patients sexually abused by their therapist suggested that 90% were harmed and of those, only 17% recovered. About 14% of those who had been sexually involved with a therapist attempted suicide.

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