Generally, the approach is to focus on the present problem, rather than the abuse itself.
Recommendations for healthcare workers, such as primary care providers and nurses, who are often suited to encounter suspected abuse are advised to firstly determine the child’s immediate need for safety.
A private environment away from suspected abusers is desired for interviewing and examining.
The three major modalities for therapy with children and adolescents are family therapy, group therapy, and individual therapy.
Which course is used depends on a variety of factors that must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is defined by the Declaration of the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm in 1996, as "sexual abuse by an adult accompanied by remuneration in cash or in kind to the child or third person(s)." One study reported that children who received a bad reaction from the first person they told, especially if the person was a close family member, had worse scores as adults on general trauma symptoms, post traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and dissociation.
Another study found that in most cases when children did disclose abuse, the person they talked to did not respond effectively, blamed or rejected the child, and took little or no action to stop the abuse.
In severe cases, damage to internal organs may occur, which, in some cases, may cause death.
Various studies have suggested that severe child sexual abuse may have a deleterious effect on brain development. (1998) found "reversed hemispheric asymmetry and greater left hemisphere coherence in abused subjects;" Teicher et al.
The American Psychological Association states that "children cannot consent to sexual activity with adults", and condemns any such action by an adult: "An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act which never can be considered normal or socially acceptable behavior." A study funded by the USA National Institute of Drug Abuse found that "Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood sexual abuse was associated with increased likelihood of drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and psychiatric disorders.
The associations are expressed as odds ratios: for example, women who experienced nongenital sexual abuse in childhood were 2.83 times more likely to suffer drug dependence as adults than were women who were not abused." Child abuse, including sexual abuse, especially chronic abuse starting at early ages, has been found to be related to the development of high levels of dissociative symptoms, which includes amnesia for abuse memories.
It has been commonly assumed that focusing on children’s issues too long will negatively impact their recovery.