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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 161328 Find in a Library
Title: Medical Examination for Sexual Abuse: Have We Been Misled?
Journal: Advocate  Volume:18  Issue:2  Dated:(March 1996)  Pages:25-33
Author(s): L Coleman
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 9
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Growing recognition of child sexual abuse has brought special problems in determining whether alleged abuse has in fact occurred, particularly since sexual assault victims may not complain immediately or may have been led to believe they were abused through leading and suggestive questioning.
Abstract: Medical evidence is important in supporting or negating child sexual abuse, but such evidence must be based on the recognition that sexual abuse is an event rather than a diagnosis and that a finding of sexual abuse is a legal conclusion. Medical examinations of many sexual assault victims may be normal, even though victims may have a history of and a physical examination consistent with molestation. Further, medical examinations for child sexual abuse are often done long after the alleged event occurred. The questionable trend to use medical experts to prove child sexual abuse in court and contradictions in research findings on medical examiner claims are noted. The need to recognize the possibility of misdiagnosis in child sexual abuse cases and to ensure unwarranted conclusions are not reached by medical practitioners is emphasized. 69 references, 3 tables, and 11 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse investigations; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victims; Expert witnesses; Medicolegal considerations; Sexual assault victims
Note: Article published in Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, V 1, N 3 (Summer 1989)
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