Tuesday 21 November, 2017

WHO issues new guidelines on treating with child sex abuse

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued new guidelines on treating with children and adolescents who were victims of sexual assault or rape.

In a report issued October 19, WHO said for the first time guidelines have been published to assist front-line healthcare providers give high-quality, compassionate, and respectful care to children and adolescents (up to age 18) who have or may have experienced sexual abuse, including sexual assault or rape.

WHO said a 2011 study estimates that 18 percent of girls and 8 percent of boys worldwide have experienced sexual abuse, which is a major health problem and a violation of human rights.

The guidelines recommend that healthcare providers put the best interests of children and adolescents first by ensuring confidentiality and privacy, respecting their autonomy and wishes, and addressing the needs of boys and girls with vulnerabilities such as LGBTI adolescents.

WHO says victims of sexual abuse face being diagnosed with long-term post-traumatic stress disorder and are more likely to engage in unsafe sex, drug and alcohol abuse, placing them at higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases. For girls, there is also the increased risk of pregnancy and gynaecological disorders.

Health care providers are recommended to do the following when treating with child and adolescent victims of sexual abuse and rape:

1. Provide first line support that is child or adolescent-centred and gender sensitive in response to disclosure of sexual abuse.

2. Offer HIV post-exposure prophylaxis and adherence support to those who have been raped and who present within 72 hours.

3. Offer emergency contraception to girls who have been raped and who present within 120 hours/ 5 days.

4. Consider STI presumptive treatment or prophylaxis in settings where laboratory testing is not feasible.

5. Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with a trauma focus for those have PTSD symptoms and diagnosis and, where safe and appropriate to do so, involve at least 1 non-offending caregiver.

6. Offer Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination as per national guidance .

7. Where required to report child sexual abuse to designated authorities, health care providers should inform the child or adolescent and their non-offending caregivers about the obligation to report the abuse and the limits of confidentiality before interviewing them.

8. Where required to report child sexual abuse to designated authorities, health care providers should inform the child or adolescent and their non-offending caregivers about the obligation to report the abuse and the limits of confidentiality before interviewing them.

WHO adds that health-care providers should seek to minimize additional trauma and distress for children and adolescents who disclose sexual abuse.

For the full report see here: http://bit.ly/2hbelJl