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 Have Increased Risk of Dying by Suicide

(Posted 2021 September)

person sitting on floor against sofa with head in their handsHere’s a disturbing fact you may not know: there’s a strong connection between sexual assault and suicide.

When you think about it, it's probably not surprising that survivors of sexual assault can face a much higher risk of suicidal feelings. A sexual assault can leave more than physical scars; there are often psychological and emotional effects, too, including panic attacks, sleep disorders and self-harm. To cope with the trauma of an assault, survivors can dissociate or find other more damaging and permanent ways to escape the pain.

In fact, research shows survivors of sexual assault are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide than those who haven’t experienced sexual assault. Studies also show 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—during September, Suicide Prevention Month, and all year long. If you need support because you have experienced sexual violence or are concerned about someone who has, help is available.

Fairfax County Domestic and Sexual Violence 24-Hour Hotline 
Phone: 703-360-7273

Community Services Board Emergency Services
Phone: 703-573-5679

PRS CrisisLink
Text Line: Contact PRS CrisisLink by texting CONNECT to 855-11.
Phone: 703-527-4077

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
Phone: 800-273-8255
Phone (Spanish): 888-628-9454
Hearing Impaired: 800-799-4889
Online Chat
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
Phone: 800-656-4673
Online Chat:
Online Chat (Spanish):

If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Learn more information about sexual violence and suicide at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

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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