Child Sexual Abuse Exam Results in West Alabama

Academic Article


  • Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a common problem, and allegations of CSA require a thorough multidisciplinary investigation which includes a comprehensive medical evaluation. Although most CSA victims will have normal exams, some will have physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and/or other problems. We are reporting the results of the examinations of 573 children evaluated in the West Alabama Child Medical Evaluation Program (WACMEP). This is the first report of CSA exams coming from Alabama and one of a few from a smaller medical center. Most were victimized by a single, older male perpetrator who was known to the family, often related, and had unsupervised access to the child. One-fourth (24.1%) of the children had significant exam findings, including 7.5% with a STI. Females were more likely to have significant findings including most of the STIs. Other historical factors statistically linked to an increased risk of having significant exam findings included being African-American, providing a clear history of abuse, and/or reporting vulvar pain or vaginal symptoms such as discharge, itching, or bleeding. The incidence of significant findings including STIs was similar to previously reported studies from larger urban centers across the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Taylor MA; Higginbotham JC
  • Start Page

  • 90
  • End Page

  • 111
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 1