Signs of sexual abuse in children

Signs of the sexual abuse of a child are not likely to be noticed without an examination of the genital area. These signs include:

  • Bruises, scars, chafing, or bite marks in the genital area.
  • Discharge from the vagina or penis.
  • Rectal or genital bleeding.
  • Anal tears or dilation.
  • Symptoms of a developing sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital herpes, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Sexual abuse may not be detected with a physical exam, especially if enough time has lapsed to allow tissue to heal. Also, some types of sexual abuse, such as fondling or oral contact, usually do not leave any physical signs.

Last Updated: December 29, 2008

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.