A cross-sectional observational study on child sexual abuse


  • Saradha Kandasamy Perumal Department of Dermato-venereo-leprology, Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Sarankumar Sudhakar Department of Dermato-venereo-leprology, Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Mithra Sampathkumar Department of Dermato-venereo-leprology, Government Stanley Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India




Child sexual abuse, STI, POCSO act, Sex education


Background: A child sexual abuse (CSA) incident never comes into limelight unless it is a rape, probably because it could be an asymptomatic event causing only an emotional trauma or due to fear of revealing. It has been observed that sexually transmitted infections (STI) are in increasing trend among adolescents due to early sexual maturity, increased promiscuity and sexual offenses.

Methods: An observational cross-sectional study was carried out for a group of 774 school children between the age group of 14-17 years using a structured questionnaire to estimate the level of unreported child sexual abuse and sexual awareness. Descriptive statistical analysis was carried out in this study (SPSS 21.0).

Results: It was observed that 5.5% of children had been abused among which 37.3 % and 62.7% were males and females respectively. 11.1% and 6.25% were abused in penetrative, 59.25% and 43.75% in non-penetrative forms among female and male victims respectively. Abusers were mainly family and friends (25.5%) followed by strangers (23.2%). 25.3% of unaffected and 27.9% of affected was aware of POSCO law. 88.3% of affected and 62.3% of unaffected rated good and above for the questionnaire.

Conclusions: Unreported and silent victims have to be identified and addressed to prevent crimes and provide a safer environment for children. Implementation of POCSO law at the root level with sex education must be strengthened. Our study concluded that CSA is an extensive problem and even the lowest prevalence includes a huge number of victims who still need to be considered.


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