Aims To review all child sexual abuse (CSA) cases involving male victims presenting to a local unit for medical assessments over 7 years to obtain a descriptive overview of the nature of disclosure including recipient and type.
Methods This was a retrospective notes based review audit of all cases of CSA involving male victims presenting to the unit January 2008 to October 2015.
The medical reports were reviewed for demographic data including age at disclosure, relationship to perpetrator, type of abuse, disclosure recipient and the type of disclosure.
Results 78% of all 40 male children in the 8 year period presented with a disclosure. The majority of children were in the age bracket 8 to 11 and this was also the age group in which non-disclosure was most common. 50% of children disclosed to a relative, the mother in 61% of cases. The proportion of disclosures to relatives was lower in the 8 to 11 and 12 to 15 age group where recipients included school staff and friends. The father was the alleged perpetrator in 50% of cases and receptive anal penetration was the most common type of abuse (45%). Purposeful disclosures were most common in 32% of cases and this trend was similar in all age groups. Accidental disclosure decreased as age increased and precipitant disclosure increased with age. Prompted disclosure was seen more often in the 4 to 7 and 8 to 11 age group.
Conclusion These results give an insight into disclosure recipients and patterns in CSA involving male children. This has implications for recognising and promoting disclosures in male children and supports previous findings detailed in the Childrens Commissioner report 2015 (Protecting children from harm). We identified precipitant disclosure was seen more in older children where the role of schools should be encouraged including supporting peers to receive disclosure. Attention should be given to those starting secondary education where disclosure rates start to fall and prompted disclosures are seen. The mothers of young children remain the key recipients of disclosure and proactive early years support is needed to support and enable conversations with their children.
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