Family Medicine pp 1615-1626 | Cite as

Sexual Assault

  • Mary Elizabeth Roth


Each year increasing numbers of men, women, and children are victims of sexual assault, incurring medical, psychological, sociocultural, legal, and sexual risks. Sexually abused patients seek family physicians for the complex, combined roles of physician, counselor, legal witness, confidante, and family communicator. As the incidence of rape/sexual assault has risen, so too has the necessity for family physicians to be competent to:
  1. 1)

    Know the definition of sexual assault, both legally and colloquially.

  2. 2)

    Be prepared to diagnose and treat by protocol an acutely assaulted patient.

  3. 3)

    Maintain a chain of evidence for possible legal prosecution.

  4. 4)

    Appreciate the aspects of long-term follow-up of victims, including family-oriented intervention.

  5. 5)

    Recognize and diagnose the patients with unreported sexual assault—“the rape trauma syndrome.”

  6. 6)

    Be sensitive to the sexual innuendos of sexual assault. This includes the unique concerns of child sex abuse, incest, and homosexual assault.1



Sexual Assault Child Abuse Family Physician Child Sexual Abuse Venereal Disease 
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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Elizabeth Roth

There are no affiliations available

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