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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 262-265

Postmortem findings of Victims of Sexual Assault: A Study of 15 Autopsies in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, PMB 6173, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
D Seleye-Fubara
Department of Anatomical Pathology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, PMB 6173, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Aims and Objectives: To study the frequency, status of the victims and assailants as well as the pattern of death in sexually assaulted females. Subjects and methods : A eight year (1st January 1995 to 31st December 2002) autopsy study of sexual assault in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Coroner's autopsies performed by the authors at different parts of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, where the circumstances of death and autopsy finding fit into sexual assault and/or complications were studied after being served with the Coroner's inquest forms by the Police. Reports and death certificates were returned to the coroner through the police. Results: A total of 1,265 autopsies were performed by the authors during the period under review of which 15 cases were deaths from sexual assault constituting 1.2% of the total autopsies. The youngest was 7 years old while the oldest was 59 years old. The highest frequency of death n=4(26.7%) occurred in the age group 10-19 years. Unmarried females n=6(40.0%) were the most common victims. Militants n=7(46.7%) were the most common real/suspected assailants and Asphyxial death n=7(46.7%) was the most common pattern of death of which neck break was the foremost n=4(26.7%). Conclusion: Death from sexual assault on women is becoming a common event that is posing an undue social problem to the victims, relations and the government in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. There should be a government intervention to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of this crime. This will discourage other assailants from committing the crime and thereby reducing the frequency of death.

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