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​Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is an abuse of power and may be perpetrated by male and female adults, teenagers and older children.

Unless there are intraoral signs of sexual abuse or the child discloses abuse, a dentist is most likely to detect the problem through emotional or behavioural signs.

The intraoral signs associated with sexual abuse include erythema, ulceration and vesicle formation arising from gonorrhoea or other sexually transmitted diseases, and erythema and petechiae at the junction of the hard and soft palate which may indicate oral sex.

Presentation of sexual abuse

    • Direct allegation
    • Sexually transmitted infection
    • Pregnancy
    • Trauma
    • Emotional and behavioural signs
      • delayed development
      • anxiety and depression
      • psychosomatic indicators
      • self-harm
      • soiling or wetting
      • inappropriate sexual behaviour or knowledge
      • running away
      • drug, solvent or alcohol abuse