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Audit of under-14s who attend sexual health clinics in Gwent, South Wales, UK: identifying young people at risk of abuse and exploitation
  1. Louise Cook, MRCGP, DFFP, General Practitioner1 and
  2. Charlotte Fleming, MD, MRCOG, Consultant2
  1. Risca Surgery, Risca, Newport, UK
  2. Sexual and Reproductive Health Directorate, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, Cwmbran, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlotte Fleming, Sexual and Reproductive Health Directorate, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, Llanyrafon House, Llanfrechfa Grange, Cwmbran, Gwent NP44 8YN, UK. E-mail: charlotte.fleming{at}gwent.wales.nhs.uk

Abstract

Background The authors' service has child protection guidance listing locally agreed ‘markers’ of potential abuse and exploitation to aid identification of vulnerable young people.

Objectives To review whether staff are identifying markers of sexual abuse and exploitation, and to review documentation relating to assessment of Fraser criteria in under-14s (young people) attending sexual health clinics in Gwent, South Wales, UK.

Methods Analysis of case notes of 242 young people who made 598 visits to a sexual health clinic between 1 January and 31 December 2003.

Results A total of 81 references to a marker of potential abuse or exploitation were recorded at 8% of visits and for 11% of young people. For 72 references a marker was present and for nine was absent. There was no reference to a marker being present or absent for any young males or for 81% of females. Increasing attendance was associated with increasing prevalence of recorded markers. All young people with three or more markers identified as present were referred onwards compared with 53% of those with one or two markers present. Referral did not deter future attendance. Reference to Fraser guidance assessment was recorded at 35% of visits or for 64% of young people and fully demonstrated at 7% of visits or for 16% of young people. There was no recorded assessment for 18% of females and 60% of males.

Conclusions The authors' service is not recording sufficient information to help identify young people (particularly males) at risk of abuse or exploitation or to demonstrate the service's compliance with Fraser guidance.

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