Girls with autism at high risk of sexual abuse, large study says
Many women with traits of autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report having been sexually abused as a child, according to a study of 4,500 people1.
It’s unclear why girls with these conditions are at heightened risk of sexual abuse. It may be because girls on the spectrum have trouble understanding social norms or recognizing dangerous situations. Alternatively, they may engage in risky behaviors, such as substance use, that make them vulnerable to predators.
The researchers found that the women who screened positive for autism had nearly three times the odds of having experienced sexual abuse as those who did not screen positive; those who screened positive for ADHD doubled their odds of sexual abuse.