Fiche mise à jour le 3 juin 2020
Sexual abuse of children. A comparative study of intra and extra-familial cases
The existing data suggest that individuals experiencing intra-familial abuse are affected more significantly than those experiencing extra-familial abuse. This study aims to identify possible differences between these types of abuse.
A retrospective study was performed based on medico-legal reports related to children suspected of being sexually abused (n = 1054).
The results revealed that 40.2% of the suspected abuses were intra-familial and were significantly different than extra-familial cases with respect to the following: (a) the complainants were younger; (b) their relationship to the alleged abuser was closer; (c) the alleged abusers had higher rates of previous sexual abuse; (d) the suspected abuses were less intrusive physically; (e) there was less physical but more psychological violence; (f) the delay between the last abuse and the medico-legal examination was greater; and (g) there were fewer physical signs and DNA evidence (none in the great majority of cases).
These results highlight aspects of intra-familial abuse that have been identified as factors influencing the severity of its consequences – physically, these instances of abuse were less intrusive but psychologically they were more intrusive than extra-familial abuse. This justifies the use of different strategies in the diagnosis and support for victims within the family.Mots clés SantéPsy :