[Forensic examination of sexually abused children].Ugeskr Laeger. 2001 Apr 30; 163(18):2485-8.UL
The Department of Forensic Medicine, Aarhus, performs examinations of children suspected to have been sexually abused when reported to and requested by the police. A preliminary study was taken to evaluate all cases in one year including the legal outcome.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
The material included all cases in one year, all examined on request by the police. All written material including court decisions were reviewed.
The material included 34 cases with three boys, median-age 11 years, and 31 girls, median age six years, at the time of examination. The sexual abuse events were fondling, vaginal (14), anal (7) and oral (5) intercourse as well as showing pornography. The medical examination was most often performed more than one week after the abuse. The examination revealed normal findings in 20 cases, non specific findings including erythema of the vestibulum in 13 cases and in only one child was a traumatic lesion with rupture of the hymen seen. The perpetrators were above 25 years of age and were family members or someone known to the child. Eight perpetrators were convicted in court, of whom three admitted having abused the child.
The time interval between the sexual abuse and the time of examination is important to the ano-genital findings at the examination. A medical examination in cases of sexual child abuse seldom provides legal proof of sexual abuse. The most important evidence is the story told by the child. Therefore, the examination is a supplement which may support or remain neutral to the story told by the child.