Coping Strategies: Self-Harm

  • Survivors of Sexual Violence often use a range of behaviours or activities to help them survive through a particular period. Some of these ‘coping mechanisms’ can be very challenging and confronting for workers. For instance – self-harm, eating issues, isolation, drug/alcohol use, and even suicide attempts.
  • Despite the overwhelming evidence that self-harm is a significant issue in our society it is difficult for most people to understand how anyone could deliberately inflict harm on themselves.  The fact that most women who use self-harm as a coping tool choose to conceal their behaviour from family and friends only adds to the complexities of responding to this complex problem.
  • Self harm is not the same as attempted suicide, though one may experience feeling suicidal at times of wanting to self-harm and may be at risk of suicide.
  • Self harm is intentional harm to ones own body, emotions or feelings.
  • Self harm can provide a sense of immediate relief to unwanted thoughts and feelings.

If you’d like to know more about self-harm or supporting a survivor of violence who has disclosed self harm please call the BRISSC support line on 3391 0004.


Supporting women survivors of sexual violence, rape, and incest.