What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse of children can happen in many different ways.
It may include:
- Sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed, including using an object.
Assault by penetration, including rape or penetration of the mouth with an object or part of the body;
- Encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, including: sexual acts with someone else and making a child strip or masturbate;
- Intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child;
- Not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activities by others.
- Meeting a child following sexual grooming, with the intent of abusing them;
- Taking, making, allowing someone to take, distributing, showing or advertising indecent images of children;
- Paying for the sexual services of a child;
- Encouraging a child into prostitution or pornography;
- Showing a child images of sexual activity, including photographs, videos or via webcams.
There are two different types of child sexual abuse. These are called contact abuse and non-contact abuse:
Contact abuse is where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration.
Non-contact abuse covers other acts where the abuser doesn’t touch the child, such as grooming, exploitation, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing.
Child sexual abuse online
When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:
- send or post sexually explicit images of themselves;
- take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone;
- have sexual conversations by text or online.
Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person’s friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.
Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.