Background: GAIA is a health service of Meyer Children Hospital composed of a multidisciplinary team specialized in the management of children victims of child abuse. Sexual abuse occurs when a child is engaged in sexual activities that cannot comprehend, for which the child is developmentally unprepared and cannot give consent, and/or that violate the law or social taboos of society. The sexual activities may include all forms of oral-genital, genital, or anal contact by or to the child, or nontouching abuses.
Objective and hypotheses: The aim of the study is to describe our experience about children seen for suspected sexual abuse.
Methods: Retrospective review of medical records over a 5-year period, from 2011 to 2015.
Results: We evaluated 385 cases of child abuse of which 96 was suspected sexual abuse. The age ranged from 3 months to 17 years, with an average of 8.29±4.44 years. 70 cases were female (72.9%) and 26 were male (27.1%). Where a perpetrator was described, 52.1% was intrafamilial with no statistically significant difference between cohabitant or non-cohabitant members. 35.4% of offenders were extrafamilial but only in 10 cases (10,4%) were strangers. In 46.8% of cases the physical examination was perfectly normal and in 49% we found nonspecific symptoms like erythema or increased vascularity of the genital tissues. Medical findings diagnostic of sexual abuse were found only in 4.2% of cases: three adolescent girls with hymen transection and an adolescent boy with anal bleeding and bruise.
Conclusion: Our data are concordant with the literature. In particular females are more likely to be abused and the most affected age group is the pre-pubertal one (59 years). In most of 90% cases (95.8%) physical examination revealed no specific signs of sexual abuse.
10 - 12 Sep 2016
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology