Understanding Sexual Abuse

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse occurs when a person involves or asks a child to engage in any sexual activity. This may include:
  • Forced sexual acts between children
  • Inappropriate touching (clothed or unclothed)
  • Participation in pornography by making children view or read sexual material
  • Penetration using an object or body part
It is important to remember that sexual abuse does not always include sexual intercourse. After a child discloses abuse, it can be confusing for both the child and parent when they encounter different child protection, law enforcement, and medical professionals.

We are here to help you.

Important Things to Know About Sexual Abuse

  • Sexual abuse is very common. It is usually done by someone the child knows and trusts.
  • Abusers will often threaten to harm the child or someone else if the child tells.
  • Sexual abuse can be very traumatic for a child and it is often very hard for the child to tell someone about the abuse.
  • Children will reveal abuse in small pieces. Your child may tell you more details about the abuse over days, weeks, or even months.
  • Older children can abuse smaller children when one child uses coercion, force, threats, or gifts to get the other child to participate.