Characteristics of children who have been sexually abused, incidents of abuse and perpetrators; a study from of a tertiary care clinic sample in central Sri Lanka

Pabasari Ginige, Sampath Tennakoon, Ferdinan Perera, Anuradha Baminiwatta
2018 Sri Lanka Journal of Medicine  
Child sexual abuse (CSA) has been a neglected topic in Sri Lanka (SL) despite its devastating effects on the victims and families. Though there is some growing concern, ignorance and stigma continue to prevail. While a few local studies have looked at CSA in selected groups, our understanding of CSA in SL still remains obscure. Objectives: To describe the characteristics of a clinic sample of sexually abused children, the perpetrators and incidents of abuse. Method: All children who had been
more » ... ren who had been victims of sexual abuse, presenting to the child and adolescent psychiatry clinic of a tertiary care centre in the Central Province of SL, from its inception in 1984 to 2016, were included in the study. Data were extracted from clinic records. Results: No CSA was reported before 2001 and 84 cases were identified since then, of whom 81% were females and 19% were males. The alleged perpetrator was known to the child in 94% of the incidents. Only 12.5% had presented within one week of abuse. About one third (30.4%) were abused more than once. The victims were unsupervised in 71.4% of cases while the family structure was disturbed in 22.6%. About a quarter (26.2%) were adolescent females having sexual contact with their boyfriends. Conclusions: Records of CSA were available only after 2001, though the clinic has been functioning for 32 years. This raises concerns about possible non reporting of CSA to authorities and possible deficiencies in record keeping. The findings from this study were comparable with those from other parts of the country as well as international findings. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY)
doi:10.4038/sljm.v27i2.64 fatcat:migdllnrvzgntkygpy4zwt5vpe