Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology

Evidence-Based Clinical Practice

Editor(s): Sultan C. (Montpellier) 
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Sexual Abuse in Prepubertal Children and Adolescents

Herrmann B.a · Navratil N.b
aPediatric Department, Klinikum Kassel, Kassel, Germany; bUniversity of Zürich Children’s Hospital, Zürich, Switzerland Sultan C (ed): Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. Evidence-Based Clinical Practice. 2nd, revised and extended edition. Endocr Dev. Basel, Karger, 2012, vol 22, pp 112–137 (DOI:10.1159/000326635)


Medical involvement in the diagnosis and treatment of child sexual abuse (CSA) has a well-defined role within a multidisciplinary concept. Due to the increasingly high rate of normal anogenital findings in victims of CSA, forensic aspects are of limited value in establishing the diagnosis. In selected cases however, medical findings may play an important role in corroborating a child’s history. Correct evaluation of normal and abnormal findings, normal variations and several differential diagnoses requires sound knowledge in pediatric gynecology. In some cases, physical consequences of CSA (injuries, infections, and pregnancy) need to be diagnosed and treated (prevented) accordingly. The majority of abused children have an altered and distorted body image. It is of paramount importance to reassure the child that its body is normal, physically undamaged, intact or that it will heal (‘primary therapeutic aspect of the medical examination’). Thus, the medical examination has an enormous potential to incorporate a therapeutic message into the diagnostic procedure if performed in a qualified and sensitive manner. By communicating with the psychosocial und jurisdictional systems, physicians may initiate proper child protection and therapy. Therefore, medical evaluation of sexually abused children must always be integrated into a multiprofessional concept of child protection.


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