Sexual Abuse: Signs and Symptoms - Topic Overview
Signs of sexual abuse may not be apparent without an
examination of the genital area. These signs include:
Vaginal bleeding in a child before the beginning of
menstruation is abnormal, as are other vaginal or genital symptoms such as
sores, warts, pain, or unusual discharge. Abnormal vaginal bleeding may be
caused by physical or sexual abuse that injures the abdominal or vaginal area.
Vaginal bleeding that is caused by abuse often is the result of minor physical
injuries that will get better on their own or with home treatment.
You may feel uneasy if your child's doctor brings up the issue of
abuse. But doctors have a professional duty and legal
obligation to evaluate the possibility of abuse. It is important to consider
this, especially if there were no witnesses to the injury that caused the
child's vaginal bleeding.
If you think your child has been
sexually abused, call your child's doctor or contact the National Child Abuse Hotline and Referral Service at