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Assessment of Childhood Sexual Abuse: Clinical Measures, Evaluation, and Treatment

  • Mark V. Sapp

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is a global problem of epidemic proportion affecting children of all ages, races, and economic and cultural backgrounds. Research over the past several decades has focused on documenting prevalence rates, improving tools for medical and psychological evaluations, and understanding the short- and long-term consequences of CSA. A better understanding of the populations at greatest risk and a greater awareness of the short- and long-term effects of CSA will ultimately lead to improved outcomes for all victimized children.

Many problems and challenges however remain. Greater focus on the relationship between teenage violence and sexual assault and the impact child and adolescent victimization has on the patients, their families, and communities is needed. Medical curricula on a national level are now addressing sexual abuse and are stressing the need for multidisciplinary teams, including law-enforcement, social service workers, and medical and mental health personnel, as mandatory first responders in the management of child and adolescent sexual assault. A well-coordinated multidisciplinary approach fosters open communication between all disciplines serving the child victims and maximizes opportunities for assessment and intervention. Although the field of child and adolescent sexual abuse has expanded tremendously over the past several decades, this growth only recently has begun to focus on the greater awareness and services which are needed for improved management and treatment of all sexual abuse survivors. Sexual abuse, assault, and sexual victimization, particularly of children and adolescents, remains but one area of child abuse work still in great need of enhanced research and services (Heger et al., 2000).

Keywords

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Intimate Partner Violence Sexual Abuse Childhood Sexual Abuse Sexual Coercion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark V. Sapp
    • 1
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA

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