Healthcare Use and Case Characteristics of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: Teen Victims Versus High-Risk Teens : Journal of Forensic Nursing

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Healthcare Use and Case Characteristics of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

Teen Victims Versus High-Risk Teens

Hornor, Gail DNP, CPNP, SANE-P1; Hollar, Jessica MBA, MSN, RN, CPEN, SANE-P2; Landers, Timothy PhD, RN, APRN-CNP, CIC, FAAN2; Sherfield, Jennifer MSW, LISW-S3

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Journal of Forensic Nursing 19(3):p 160-169, 7/9 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000402



The overall goal of this study was to provide further information about the characteristics of commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) victims by comparing the characteristics of a known victim pool to high-risk patients identified. The specific objectives of this study were to describe patient demographic characteristics, pediatric healthcare use, familial psychosocial characteristics, and child sexual abuse case characteristics present in youth identified as high risk for CSEC victimization compared with a sample of known victims.


A retrospective chart review was conducted on patients presenting to the emergency department or Child Advocacy Center for a concern of sexual abuse/assault at a midwestern U.S. academic pediatric medical center. Adolescents aged 12–21 years were included in the study.


In the current study, multiple CSEC risk factors were noted to increase odds for CSEC victimization: homelessness or life on the streets, runaway behavior, living with mother only, placement in a juvenile detention center, placement in a residential treatment center or group home, and number of living arrangements (four or greater). Multiple elements of high-risk sexual behavior increased odds of CSEC victimization: legally age-inappropriate sex, gonorrhea diagnosis, trichomonas diagnosis, other sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnoses, number of STIs, and chlamydia diagnosis.


These findings suggest that age of sexual partners and number and types of STIs are associated with CSEC and should be validated in other groups. In addition, these data suggest that use of cocaine and opiates could serve as an important, yet underrecognized, risk factor.

Copyright © 2022 International Association of Forensic Nurses

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