Sexual abuse can happen to anyone.
It can happen to:
If someone has sexually abused you, they have done something wrong. They have broken the law.
If you report the crime to police the person may be punished. This means a judge will make a decision about the person and they may go to prison or be punished in another way.
Reporting the crime can help stop the person hurting someone else.
There is lots of support available to help you to talk about what happened.
When you report a crime to the police the person in charge of finding out more information about what happened is called the investigating officer.
They will give you a card with their telephone number on it. You can phone them if you need to. You can also ask someone to phone them for you.
The police will send all of the information they have collected to the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland (PPS).
The PPS look at the information and decide whether the case should go to court
If the defendant agrees with what you say happened it is called pleading guilty. It means they admit that they broke the law. If this happens, your statement (the information you gave to the police about what happened) will be read out in court. You will not have to go to court.
However, the defendant might plead not guilty. This means they do not agree with what you say happened. They do not admit that they broke the law.
If this happens, the court may need to hear from you about what happened. They might want to ask you some questions to help them decide if the defendant is guilty. This is normal and not something to worry about.
To be found guilty it must be proved “beyond reasonable doubt” that the defendant committed the crime. The judge or jury have to be completely sure that the crime happened.