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Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when a child is forced, pressurised or tricked into sexual activity with another person. This can include rape and sexual assault. Sexual harassment and online grooming are also forms of abuse. Another form of abuse is sexual exploitation. This is where a child is pressurised into having sex with someone, in return for something they need or want.

The sexual activity does not need to be physical. It does not need to involve any contact. A child can be sexually abused by being made to watch sexual images. They may be forced to be part of the production of sexual images. Sexual abuse also includes encouraging a child to behave in a sexual way. This includes grooming a child with the intention of sexually abusing them. Children may be groomed via the internet.

Sexual abuse is not only perpetrated by adult males. Adult males are the most common perpetrators though. Women can commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.

Sexual abuse is never a child’s fault.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Sexual abuse

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