Reflections on Dermatology: Past, Present and Future|Articles in Press

Teen Dating Abuse, Rape and Violence: The Dermatologist's Role


      Teen dating abuse, rape and violence are considered major public health problems that impact the lives of millions of teens in the United States. Dermatologists have traditionally become involved in these cases when confronted with patients who have unexplained bruising, or other skin injuries, and/or sexually transmitted diseases which raise the possibility that they could be victims of sexual abuse and violence. This contribution explores the role of the dermatologist in the diagnosis and management of teen dating abuse. We suggest some screening questions that might help to broach these serious issues with teen patients when the suspicion of dating abuse arises. We also provide a list of resources and hotlines that offer advice on how best to handle teen dating abuse. Some legal issues concerning the physician's role in managing teen dating abuse, rape, and violence are also discussed.
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