Child abuse – sexual

Alternative Names

Sexual abuse – children

Definition of Child abuse – sexual

Child sexual abuse is the deliberate exposure of minor children to sexual activity. This means a child is forced or talked into sex or sexual activities by another person. Such abuse includes:

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Society was reluctant to deal with child sexual abuse a few decades ago. Today, it is considered a serious issue.

Symptoms

Symptoms of sexual abuse in chlildren are similar to those of depression or severe anxiety and nervousness. They can include:

Signs and tests

If you suspect a child has been sexually abused, the child should be examined as soon as possible by a trained health care professional. Most pediatricians, many family medicine doctors, and most emergency room (ER) doctors have been trained to examine cases involving sexual abuse.

Treatment

Treatment for the physical signs of sexual abuse is the same as for any types of cuts, bruises, or scrapes. The patient may need medicines to prevent or treat sexually transmitted diseases. Older females may receive medicines to prevent pregnancy.

Expectations (prognosis)

The biggest issue is the child’s mental health. The outcome depends on:

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/14/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.