In severe cases, damage to internal organs may occur, which, in some cases, may cause death.
Various studies have suggested that severe child sexual abuse may have a deleterious effect on brain development. (1998) found "reversed hemispheric asymmetry and greater left hemisphere coherence in abused subjects;" Teicher et al.
Children often present for treatment in one of several circumstances, including criminal investigations, custody battles, problematic behaviors, and referrals from child welfare agencies.
Leading statements that can distort the story are avoided.
As disclosing abuse can be distressing and sometimes even shameful, reassuring the child that he or she has done the right thing by telling and that they are not bad and that the abuse was not their fault helps in disclosing more information.
Recommendations for healthcare workers, such as primary care providers and nurses, who are often suited to encounter suspected abuse are advised to firstly determine the child’s immediate need for safety.
A private environment away from suspected abusers is desired for interviewing and examining.
Non-validating and otherwise non-supportive responses to disclosure by the child's primary attachment figure may indicate a relational disturbance predating the sexual abuse that may have been a risk factor for the abuse, and which can remain a risk factor for its psychological consequences.