A cross-sectional investigation on a day chosen at random i autumn 1987 in the Hospital for Neuroses, Montebello, Elsinore, revealed that a total of 25% of the female patients treated on that date had previously been the victims of incest (8.7%) or sexual abuse (17.3%). Of these, the great majority, 19 out of 23 (82%) had been abused prior to the age of 18 years. One out of 15 male patients (7%) had been the victim of previous sexual abuse. Approximately one third of the sexually abused women had been abused by more than one person. The incident had been reported to the police on one occasion only. In addition, previous incest/sexual abuse was presumed where further 10% of the female patients were concerned, on the basis of the opinions formed by the therapists from the clinical pictures and the case histories. In approximately half of the cases, the secrecy concerning the abuse was broken in the course of the psychotherapeutic process and it is concluded that frankness knowledge and courage on the part of the therapist are essential in order to establish sufficiently differentiated psychotherapeutic treatment and that increased knowledge about the problem in society will presumably exert a prophylactic effect.