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Original Article
Characteristics of children under 12 years subjected to forensic examination on suspicion of child sexual abuse in Salvador Brazil
Características de los menores de 12 años con examen médico forense por sospecha de abuso sexual en Salvador, Brasil
Welington dos Santos Silvaa,b,c,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, Ubirajara de Oliveira Barroso-Júniora,c
a Departamento de Postgraduación en Medicina y Salud, Escuela Bahiana de Medicina y Salud Pública, Salvador, Brazil
b Servicio de Clínica Médico-Forense, Instituto Médico Legal Nina Rodrigues, Salvador, Brazil
c Departamento de Pediatria, CPPHO, Universidad Federal de Bahía, Salvador, Brazil
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Tables (3)
Table 1. Children under 12 years old examined at the IMLNR* due to suspected sexual abuse: demographic data. Metropolitan Region of Salvador, Brazil, 2005–2010 (n=2802).
Table 2. Forensic history information.
Table 3. Conclusion of the forensic report.
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To describe the demographic and clinical characteristics of a population of children under 12 years submitted to forensic sexual examination and the proportion of confirmed cases of sex abuse by material evidence.

Material and methods

A retrospective descriptive study was conducted by reviewing all examination reports of forensic sexology for suspicion of child sexual abuse carried out at the forensic institute of Salvador, Brazil, between 2005 and 2010.


During the study period, 2802 children under 12 years with suspicion of sexual abuse were submitted for forensic examination. The mean age was 6.6 years (SD 3.09), and 78.4% were female. In 84.9% of the cases, examination was required based on previous allegations of sexual abuse. The physical examination showed no alteration in 67.0% of the children investigated. The proportion of confirmed cases of sexual abuse by material evidence was 8.9% (248 cases).


In view of the consensus of the low proportion of false allegation of sexual abuse made by children found in the specialized literature, the data obtained in this study emphasize the low sensitivity of the forensic examination for the confirmation of sexual abuse by material evidence, as well as the need for the comprehension of this fact by all those to whom these examinations are intended.

Child sexual abuse
Sex offences
Forensic medicine

Describir las características demográficas y clínicas de la población de menores de 12 años sometidos a pericia de sexología forense y la proporción de los casos confirmados de abuso sexual por prueba material.

Material y métodos

El diseño fue un estudio descriptivo retrospectivo. Se revisaron todos los informes de examen de sexología forense por sospecha de abuso sexual en menores de 12 años, que fueron realizados por el instituto médico-forense de Salvador, Brasil, en el periodo de 2005–2010.


En el periodo estudiado, 2.802 menores de 12 años fueron sometidos a examen de sexología forense por sospecha de abuso sexual. La edad media fue de 6,6 años (DT 3,09). Del total de menores examinados, 78,4% eran niñas. En cuanto al motivo de la pericia, en el 84,9% de los casos hubo en la historia clínica un relato de abuso sexual. En el 67,0% de los menores examinados no fue detectada ninguna alteración en el examen físico. La proporción de casos confirmados de abuso sexual por prueba material fue de 8,9% (248 casos).


Ante el consenso en la literatura de la pequeña proporción de falsos relatos de abuso sexual efectuados por menores, los datos encontrados en este estudio resaltan la baja sensibilidad del examen del cuerpo del delito para la confirmación de abuso sexual por prueba material y la necesidad de que esto sea comprendido por todos aquellos a quienes se destinan los informes de dichos exámenes.

Palabras clave:
Abuso sexual infantil
Delitos sexuales
Medicina forense


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