WHO publishes new guidelines to help response to sexual abuse
Millions of children and adolescents are subjected to sexual abuse with devastating consequences for their health and well-being which often last into adulthood. It is estimated that 18% of girls and 8% of boys worldwide have experienced sexual abuse.
Health care providers, who are often the first point of call for distressed parents or adolescents, need to know how to identify such abuse and provide an empathetic and supportive response to children and adolescents when they disclose, or show signs of, abuse. Health care providers can also help to connect survivors of abuse to other services that they may need through referrals.
To support these efforts, WHO published on 20 October new evidence-based guidelines. Responding to children and adolescents who have been sexually abused: WHO clinical guidelines recommends that health care providers provide first line support that is child or adolescent-centred and gender sensitive in response to disclosure of sexual abuse; and minimize additional trauma and distress while taking medical history, conducting the examination and documenting the findings, among other interventions.
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