Educational program on evaluation of alleged sexual abuse victims

Roberta A. Hibbard, Janet Serwint, Monica Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increased awareness of the problem of child sexual abuse has resulted in increasing numbers of children presenting to professionals for the evaluation of possible sexual victimization. A multidisciplinary project to develop professionals' knowledge and skills in the identification and evaluation of possible victims is described. The program focused on the child as a victim and emphasized developmental perspectives with regard to identification, interviewing children, the medical examination, and children in the legal system. Fiftyone medical and social work professionals from ten Indiana counties attended the program and responded to questionnaires about their experience and knowledge. Of 40 (78%) respondents, 63% had had no previous training in the medical evaluation for child sexual abuse. Child protective workers referred alleged victims primarily to the child's regular physician (37%) or emergency room (31%) for medical examination. Knowledge about child sexual abuse improved significantly at two weeks postsymposium (p= .001) and remained improved at six months postsymposium (p < .02). These original participants have subsequently organized similar multidisciplinary programs in their local communities for medical, social, law enforcement, and legal professionals; thus, they have been "seeds" for further educational and cooperative efforts throughout the state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-519
Number of pages7
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Child sexual abuse
  • Professional education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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