What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone.

  • Men and women
  • Boys and girls
  • People of any age
  • People of any race
  • People of any sexuality
  • People with or without a disability

It is never their fault.

What is sexual abuse?

Rape

Rape is when someone has sex with you without your consent.

This includes:

Putting a penis in your mouth, vagina or bum

Giving consent to have sex means understanding, choosing and agreeing to have sex with another person

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is when someone touches you in a sexual way without your consent.

This includes:

Touching you somewhere that is normally covered by your underwear (penis, vagina, breasts, testicles or bum) either inside or outside of your clothes.

What is sexual abuse?

Other Sexual Offences

There are other sexual offences apart from rape and sexual assault that are also against the law.

This includes making you do any of the following when you do not want to (without your consent):

Making you look at pictures of people who are undressed

Making you watch pornography (videos of people having sex)

Making you show them parts of your body that are normally covered by your underwear (penis, vagina, breasts, testicles or bum)

Making you touch or look at parts of their body that are normally covered by their underwear (penis, vagina, breasts, testicles or bum)

Taking photos of you or making videos of you when you are not dressed.

People who have been sexually abused can feel different types of emotions.

You may feel upset, angry or embarrassed, or you might not feel any emotion at all.

Everyone will react in their own way. No matter how you feel, it is completely normal.

Who can be an abuser?

An abuser is someone who does something to hurt you like the things listed in this section.

Anyone can be an abuser

  • They could be a family member or friend.
  • They could be a member of staff or a volunteer.
  • They could be a stranger.
  • They could be a man or a woman.

If someone sexually abuses you, they have broken the law. They have committed a sexual crime.

If something has happened to you and you aren’t sure if it is a sexual crime, you can still talk to the police.

  • They can give you advice.
  • They want to hear from you.
  • It is their job to protect you.

You can also tell someone that you trust and they can give you support to talk to the police.

What is sexual abuse?

If you would like any more information, please get in touch with the officer in charge of your case or the Public Prosecution Service. There are also other organisations that are there to help you. You can contact them whether or not you decide to report a crime to the police. They can give you free, confidential support.

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