Department of Family Services

CONTACT INFORMATION: Monday–Friday 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
703-324-7500 TTY 711
12011 Government Center Parkway, Pennino Building
Fairfax, VA 22035
Michael A. Becketts

Sexual Violence Survivors at Greater Risk of Suicide

(Posted 2020 September; Updated 2020 December)

Daisy and Melinda ColemanUpdate: Melinda Coleman, mother of late sexual assault survivor and advocate Daisy Coleman, died by suicide on Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. This tragic news comes four months after Daisy, founder of anti-sexual violence nonprofit Safe BAE and who appeared in the 2016 Netflix documentary Audrie and Daisy, died by suicide at the age of 23.

Daisy's death by suicide in August was not the first time she had attempted to take her own life.

Sadly, survivors of sexual assault can face a much higher risk of suicidal feelings.

  • Researchers have found that more than a third of women rape survivors have contemplated suicide at some point after their assault, and 13 percent have attempted suicide.
  • The National Sexual Violence Resource Center's research shows that survivors of sexual assault are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who haven’t experienced sexual assault.
  • Studies reveal that survivors whose first assault occurred before the age of 16 were at an even greater risk, with suicide attempts occurring three to four times more than in those assaulted after that age.
  • Additionally, survivors of sexual assault are often diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, two mental health conditions that can have serious impacts on a person’s ability to manage stress and anxiety.

All survivors deserve support to recover and lead a full life.

If you need support because you have experienced sexual violence, are concerned about someone who has or are struggling because someone close to you has been sexually assaulted, help is available:

smartphone on rock with plantFairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline

Community Services Board Emergency Services 

PRS CrisisLink
Text "CONNECT" to 855-11 to contact PRS CrisisLink 
Call PRS CrisisLink at 703-527-4077

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
English: 800-273-8255
Spanish: 888-628-9454
Hearing impaired: 800-799-4889
Online chat: 
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
Online chat: (English) or (Spanish)

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

For more information about sexual violence and suicide, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Learn more about Fairfax County's Domestic and Sexual Violence Services.

This posting is part of the Department of Family Services' Community Corner where you’ll find timely information about upcoming events, parenting and wellness tips, programs and services, and more! Share these helpful posts with your friends and family. Don't miss out on future postings; sign-up today!

For media inquiries, contact Department of Family Services' Public Information Officer Amy Carlini by email, office phone 703-324-7758 or mobile phone 571-355-6672.

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