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November 1999

Medical Evaluation of Suspected Child Sexual Abuse: It's Time for Standardized Training, Referral Centers, and Routine Peer Review

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(11):1121-1122. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.11.1121

THE ARTICLE by Bowen and Aldous1 in this month's ARCHIVES is a welcome addition to the literature on medical assessment of suspected child sexual abuse. Once again, the history given by the child is revealed as the most important factor in assessing possible abuse, and the results of physical examination are shown to be normal or nonspecific in 83.5% to 94.4% of the cases. Of patients referred by physicians for suspicious physical findings without any history, only 14.3% of patients actually had suspicious genital or anal findings on examination.