Joint Position on Care of Prepubescent Pediatric Sexual Abuse Patients in the Emergency Care Setting
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) and the International Association of Forensic Nurses acknowledge that sexual abuse of prepubescent children is quite distinct from that of adult patients. Pediatric sexual abuse patients are not “little adults” and should not be treated under the same policies or guidelines used in the adult emergency care setting.
It is the position of the Emergency Nurses Association and the International Association of Forensic Nurses that:
1. Children who may be victims of sexual abuse are provided a safe and private environment
upon arrival in an emergency care setting.
2. Emergency nurses provide developmentally age-appropriate, empathetic, and non-judgmental
support to pediatric patients as well as to the caregivers presenting with them whose emotional
and psychological responses to the patient’s disclosures may directly impact the outcome on
3. Non-offending parents and caregivers of children who may have been sexually abused will
have access to a community-based advocate, where available, at any time during their stay.
4. Emergency nurses will engage social workers, where available, to facilitate completion of a
psychosocial assessment to determine risk factors and strengths within the family.
5. Emergency nurses use a developmentally appropriate, trauma-informed approach throughout
the child’s care.
Download the complete position paper.
Emergency Nurses Association (ENA)