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Service specification for the clinical evaluation of children and young people who may have been sexually abused

1.1 This document outlines the standards for the provision of a paediatric forensic medical service for children and young people who may have been sexually abused. It has been prepared by a working group of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Child Protection Standing Committee to inform the establishment of these services in the UK.

1.2 The specification is concerned with the provision of paediatric and forensic services specifically for child sexual abuse (CSA) of all types and within all time frames. It does not address the prevention or the identification of CSA.

1.3 This document uses the Department of Education (England) definition of CSA as outlined in Working together to safeguard children:

‘Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.’