Medical evaluation of the sexually abused child

C. J. Levitt

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Clearly, there are numerous troubling variations in the medical diagnosis of child sexual abuse. These variations include delays in disclosure; rapid healing; maturational changes; variations in normal congenital findings; the technique of the examiner; patient position, relaxation, and cooperation; and additional medical conditions that mimic abuse. For these reasons, physical evidence is often inconclusive and can be an unreliable source of information in child sexual abuse cases. The reader is logically cautioned against attempts to diagnose child sexual abuse based on a single finding, particularly that of the diameter of the hymenal orifice. Emphasis on the child's history in documenting the abuse is increasing. As physicians, we must develop interviewing techniques that will assist in child protection, and we must listen and believe the comments made by our patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-354
Number of pages12
JournalPrimary Care - Clinics in Office Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1993


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