What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is a violation of power by someone with more power over a person who is vulnerable.

This violation takes a sexual form and involves a breach of trust, a breaking of boundaries and a profound violation of the survivor’s sense of self.

The most important thing to remember is that it is the ‘experience’ of the child. As a child, you are not able to consent in any way, shape or form.


Who is involved?

Sexual abuse happens in all social classes, regardless of gender or age.

Most sexual abuse happens with someone the person knows well and the abuser may be a member of the family or someone in a position of trust.

Sexual abuse can happen once, a few times or go on for many years and victims can be abused by more than one person. Sexual abusers may offer rewards to the person they are abusing.

The abuser may be of any gender.


How can sexual abuse affect people?

Sexual abuse can affect all areas of adult life including serious mental health issues and it can also affect physical health. Relationships with others may also suffer.