Sexual assault or sexual abuse of a child is one of the most disturbing crimes to which a law enforcement officer or pediatric healthcare provider responds. Prevalence rates are impossible to determine because such crimes are notably underreported. In 2009, the University of Barcelona published findings from a study of global pediatric sexual abuse rates in the Clinical Psychology Review; the report determined that 7.5 percent of male children and 25.3 percent of female children in the United States become victims of sexual assault.
Physical and Psychological Effects of Pediatric Sexual Assault
The effects of sexual assault on young people are varied, as are their duration, severity, and responsiveness to therapies. The victim’s age and the frequency and violence of abuse are significant factors. Most victims know their abuser, but the closeness of the offender also affects the extent of psychological damage. Depression and other mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders, substance abuse, engagement in high-risk sexual behavior, and sexual dysfunction are common clinical responses to sexual assault.
Responding to a Young Sexual Assault Victim
Law enforcement agents, nurses, pediatricians, child psychologists, and other professionals involved in the interdisciplinary treatment of pediatric sexual abuse victims face unique challenges. They must be well equipped to meet these challenges while performing all necessary tasks with gentility and efficiency. Victims are understandably hesitant to trust adults. They grapple with intense anxiety, fear, guilt, and shame, all of which obstruct therapy; many also struggle with a sense of loyalty to their abuser.
Attending medically to sexual assault victims often requires specialized treatment for vaginal, anal, or other sex-related injuries. The team working for the child must sensitively gather the needed physical evidence to help convict the offender. A clear understanding of each party’s duties and the ability to collaborate make the process more effective and minimize stress inflicted on the victim. The response during initial treatment sets the stage for both the ensuing legal process and the child’s recovery process.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Pediatric Training
The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education is offering a 5-day and a 3-day training course for registered nurses and law enforcement officers. The former takes place from June 25 through June 29, 2012, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the latter takes place from June 27 through June 29, 2012, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will be held at Arcadia University’s King of Prussia campus at 1150 1st Avenue, Suite 700, King of Prussia, PA 19406.
This sexual assault nurse examiner pediatric training course prepares professionals to work effectively in an interdisciplinary treatment team for victims of childhood sexual assault. It offers in-depth instructions on meeting the unique challenges the situation presents and fulfilling crucial responsibilities. For complete details, a course outline and brochure, and fee and registration information, please visit http://forensicscienceeducation.org/sexual-assault-nurse-examiner-pediatric-training-sane-p/.