Background Male sexual assault (SA) is a widely unreported crime. Published data demonstrate that male victims are often lost to follow-up. We need to understand this group better in order that we target their specific needs.
Methods Case notes of men attending an inner city SARC for a forensic medical examination (FME) between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2011 were identified. A detailed notes review was performed and we report the findings.
Results 21 males received an FME in this time period, of whom 3 were <13. 18 men were aged 18–97 years (94%, 18–40). 50% were white, 28% black and 22% Asian. Of those who were sexually active, 56% were homosexual and 44% were heterosexual. 78% were referred by the police and attended within 72 h of the alleged assault. A third reported a suspected drug facilitated sexual assault. 78% reported factors increasing their vulnerability. 94% reported anal penetration. Receptive oral and digital penetration was also reported. No condom was used in 50% of incidents; in 39% condom use was unknown. 28% were assaulted in public, 44% in the assailants home and 22% in their home. 61% of assailants were strangers. One assailant was reported by 50% and two or more by 39%. The SA was accompanied by physical assault in 22%. Non-genital injuries were documented in 61%. PEP against HIV was commenced in 61%. 33% were followed-up at SARCs, 39% in sexual health clinics and three declined follow-up. Within the SARCs one client tested positive for Hepatitis C, one had latent syphilis and two were known to have pre-exisiting HIV.
Conclusion When compared with published data regarding female SA, males are experiencing more assault from strangers, more extra genital injuries, higher numbers with multiple suspects and have higher rates of vulnerability. Small numbers of men are attending SARCs compared to females; this may in part be due to lack of awareness on the part of the victim. Increased help is needed from external agencies for aftercare and publicity campaigns.
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