Children With Sexually Transmitted Diseases Part II

By Lawrence W. Daly

Who should children turn to when they feel the physical pain which is associated with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? Since most small children do not have the understanding of what is happening to them, they may not complain to others about the pain. Once the physical symptoms lead the child victim to their family practitioner or the emergency room, the identification of what is happening to the child will now put things into perspective. The non-abusing adult who receives the complaint from the child victim will generally have some explaining to do with law enforcement and child protective services about how the child victim contracted the STDs.
Law enforcement will play a major role in identifying, apprehending and prosecuting the sexual offender who transmitted the STDs to the child victim. The alleged sexual offender will find it difficult to deny transmitting the disease to the child victim. The ability to obtain body fluids from the sexual offender is vital to identifying that the child victim and the sexual offender are carrying the same STDs in their bodies.

Before the HIV began killing individuals in the 1980’s the medical personnel dealt with two main STDs, gonorrhea and syphilis. These were the standard sexual diseases that came about for many reasons. However, when the child victim was found to be carrying one of these two STDs, law enforcement and child protective services took the medical findings to an emergent investigative techniques and methods.

In the initial phases of the child sexual abuse allegations, law enforcement and child protective services must interview the non-abuser adult for several reasons:

·         To identify all men and women who have had any type of physical contact with the child victim.
·         To identify if the child victim was ever out of the non-abuser adult’s presence; what dates and times?
·         To identify what non-abuser adult may have noticed upon the return of the child victim i.e. child seemed upset; sexual offender was anxious, nervous and avoided eye contact and etc.
·         To identify who was present at the residence during the time the child victim was with the alleged sexual offender.
·         To identify who the child first disclosed that she/he had been sexually abused and ‘exactly’ what the child said.
·         To identify when the child begin demonstrating pain in the genitalia and anal area and what the child said about what he/she believed was going on. Of course this would be difficult to ascertain with children of a younger age i.e. four and under.

Medical personnel can assist law enforcement in ascertaining when they believe the onset of the STDs was; the type of STDs the child victim has; and the signs of the STDs that should have been recognizable to the non-abuser adult.  The medical personnel can also help law enforcement with detailing how the STDs were transmitted and provide a declaration for the court in the obtaining of a search and arrest warrant for the alleged sexual offender.
Girl With Folded Hands.jpgAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, n.d., Children might be at higher risk for transmission, because the sexual abuse of children is frequently associated with multiple episodes of assault, and might result in mucosal trauma.”  With this statement law enforcement should be investigating individuals who are associated with the opportunity to commit the sexual assaults on the child victim i.e. relative, peers, friends and others.
In evaluating the risk that children are exposed to contract HIV and AIDS, law enforcement must listen to what medical personnel tell them about the approximate date of contraction and so forth. According to AVERT, averting HIV and AIDS, “More than 1,000 children are newly infected with HIV every day, and of these more than half will die as a result of AIDS because of a lack of access to HIV treatment. In addition, millions more children every year are indirectly affected by the epidemic as a result of the death and suffering caused in their families and communities.”
AVERT’s findings demonstrate that over 400,000 children each year are newly infected with HIV. The cause of most of these contractions comes from child sexual abuse. The realization that there are sexual offenders worldwide infecting children is simply unconscionable. As stated previously for the most part, the contracted disease generally identifies the perpetrator law enforcement has identified as being the person who sexually abused the child victim.
 The following findings further demonstrate just how serious the STDs, especially HIV are having on the children worldwide:
  • At the end of 2009, there were 2.5 million children living with HIV around the world.
  • An estimated 400,000 children became newly infected with HIV in 2009.
  • Of the 1.8 million people who died of AIDS during 2009, one in seven were children.  Every hour, around 30 children die as a result of AIDS.
  • There are more than 16 million children under the age of 18 who have lost one or both parents to AIDS.
  • Most children living with HIV/AIDS– almost 9 in 10 – live in sub-Saharan Africa, the region of the world where AIDS has taken its greatest toll.
HIV Child.jpgThere are more questions than there are answers about child sexual abuse and STDs. Why women and men sexually assault vulnerable and young children will continue to be a mystery. Law enforcement in their child sexual abuse investigations are always looking for a way to identify medical evidence which can be part of the prosecution of sexual offenders. Over time, medical personnel and law enforcement are learning how to work together and bring those who contract STDs to children, to justice and the life of confinement in a 8 x 12 holding cell.  My viewpoint being that the 8 x 12 cell being too big for what they did sexually to the child victim.

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