Objective To summarize the characteristics of child sexual abuse, and explore common features that may be utilized as targets for methods of prevention.
Methods We involved 209 girls who had been exposed to sexual abuse who visited our Department. We prospectively collected data regarding the characteristics of all cases. Legal procedures were evaluated.
Results 76% of the victims were students, and 47% were between 11 and 14 years of age. Perpetrator was familiar to the victim in 66% of the cases, and a stranger in 34%. Fifty-two (25%) perpetrators were intrafamiliar. He was the victim’s father in 11%, and the stepfather in 10%. The abuse occurred on multiple occasions in 21%. Occurrence rate of assault was the highest in the summer season (59%). 39% of victims were accompanied by their mothers and 43% by the police. Vaginal penetration was the type of abuse in 80%, and sexual perversion in 20%. 66 victims were physically injured; the presence of sperm could be confirmed on vulvovaginal smears in 38 cases. 127 cases were reported to the police and as a result of legal proceedings 56 perpetrators have been sentenced.
Conclusion A high proportion of female child sexual abuse takes place within the family and is revealed only after multiple episodes. Low reported prevalence of sexual assault is the consequence of the lack of harmony between the conditions of emergency care in Hungary and the Hungarian criminal law. Prevention requires vigilance at off-school times, education, early involvement of health professionals, and adjustment of jurisdiction.