Multiple obstacles can hinder the medical evaluation of suspected child sexual abuse in pediatric primary care. The need for diagnostic accuracy is high. Knowledge of sexual abuse risk factors, an understanding of the victimization process, and awareness of the varied clinical presentations of sexual abuse can be of assistance. Open-ended questioning of the suspected victim is the most critical component of the evaluation. Skillful medical interviewing requires time, training, patience, and practice. Pediatricians lacking any of these four requirements should defer interviewing in sexual abuse cases to other professionals. Abnormal physical findings from sexual abuse are uncommon. Colposcopy has assisted pediatricians greatly in reaching consensus regarding diagnostic physical findings. Cases of acute sexual assault require familiarity with the forensic rape examination, STD screening and prophylaxis, and pregnancy prevention. Victimization from sexual abuse continues long after the abusive acts end, often requiring long-term therapeutic intervention. An emerging standard of care for medical evaluations of suspected child sexual abuse recognizes the requirement for patience and compassion while retaining objectivity. The pediatrician's primary concern must be for the child's physical and emotional well-being.
|236-249; quiz 249-250
|Pediatrics in review / American Academy of Pediatrics
|Published - Jul 1996
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health