Sahel Medical Journal

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Review: Childhood and Adolescent Sexual Abuse: Incidence, Complications and Management

IF Abdul


Sexual abuse in children and adolescents is a silent epidemic because despite the fact that close to 20% of children and adolescents (1 out 5) are affected, less than 10% of the cases get reported to law enforcement agents or medical practitioners.

Sexual abuse is associated with physical injuries such as bruises and lacerations to the neck, back, buttocks, extremities, vulva and the vagina. Other complications relate to sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancy and psychological pathologies such as intense anxiety, anger, depression, mood swings, nightmares, phobias and somatisation. This review discusses the apparent low incidence and of sexual abuse in children and adolescents, complications as well as management. The aim is to increase the level of awareness of sexual abuse among medical practitioners and improve the care of victims.

(Key word: Sexual abuse; Childhood and Adolescence; Incidence; Complications; Management).

Sahel Med. J. Vol.6(3) 2003: 67-71
AJOL African Journals Online