Volume 48, Issue 6 (November 2003)
Anal Findings in Sexual Abuse of Children (A Descriptive Study)
The aim of this study was to assess anal physical findings in children whose abuse was admitted by the perpetrator. Fifty children were studied in whom medical assessment took place remote in time from anal abuse which was admitted by the perpetrator. Medical assessment included examination to detect the presence of anal physical signs. Most frequent signs were anal scars and tags (either single or multiple) present, respectively, in 84 and 32% of cases. In some cases scars extended to the perianal region. Other signs included reflex anal dilatation (RAD) and venous congestion (VC) found, separately or associated with other signs, in over 33% of the cases. In 6% of the cases there were no abnormal anal findings.
The results confirm earlier reports that physical signs, including scars, tags, RAD, funneled anus and extensive venous congestion, are often present in abused children, singly or in combination, and that anal examination should be undertaken even months after a known or suspected sexual assault. In the legal setting these physical signs are seen in association with anal abuse and support the child's statement. They do not per se provide proof of abuse.