Medical examinations when child sexual abuse is disclosed or suspected can have wide benefits including identifying forensic and evidential findings and providing a holistic assessment of the health and wellbeing of children who have experienced sexual abuse. This includes addressing unmet general, mental and sexual health needs, assessing risk (including for self-harm and suicide) and providing feedback and reassurance from health professionals to children and carers.

It’s important that practitioners who engage with children prior to a possible referral for medical examination have the knowledge and confidence to provide information and advice to children and non-abusing parents and carers.

The scoping review

This scoping review presents the available, up-to-date evidence on the role and purpose of the medical examination and the lived experience of, and impacts on, children and young people of having an examination.

This report will be of interest to frontline practitioners in social care, police and health, as well as leaders and those responsible for the professional development and training of professionals in these sectors.

Download the report (PDF, 2.1 MB)

Download the summary in Welsh (PDF, 0.8 MB)

The practitioner resource

Dealing effectively with a problem as pervasive and important as child sexual abuse needs everyone with a stake in working to prevent child sexual abuse to get involved.

This evidence-informed film will help professionals from multi-agency backgrounds better understand the role and purpose of a medical examination in situations where child sexual abuse has been disclosed or suspected. It is applicable to any setting in which children may be seen for a medical examination, and is relevant to both recent and non-recent cases of CSA.

The resource aims to help professionals and practitioners involved in advising, referring and supporting children and families make decisions and explain processes to children and families.