Child sexual abuse: an Italian perspective.
The problem of child sexual abuse is a growing reality in Italy. The experience of over 200 children seen by the SVS (Soccorso Violenza Sessuale) Centre in Milan (the first Italian large-scale study) may give more information on the European situation. This study is a retrospective study based on information contained in the files of children beneath the age of 14 seen at the SVS Centre between May 1996 and May 2003, who arrived with a suspicion of child sexual abuse. Over 80% of all cases fell within the normal-aspecific category according to Adams' 2001 classification. This first Italian survey, though not based on substantiated cases but only on cases of suspected sexual abuse, supplies a perspective on a large northern European city such as Milan. Data seem similar to those published in other non-European studies, particularly as regards clinical signs observed. Thus, the results of this study, with all their limitations, start to give a perspective on the frequency and type of child population reaching this Italian center, what the scenarios are, what signs the children present and how infrequent it is to find clinical anogenital signs concerning for sexual abuse.