What is sexual abuse

Sexual abuse or sexual violence

This is when you are tricked or forced into sexual activities with someone else, this may be an adult or another child.
this could happen in person or online, for example:

  • Being forced to have sex without your permission
  • Taking part in sexual activity without your consent (this may include oral sex, touching)
  • Being made to look at or take part in sexual pictures or videos that you don’t want to
  • Sexual exploitation is when you are bought things in exchange for sexual activity
  • Sexual abuse and exploitation may start with grooming online or in person – when someone tries to gain your trust and or convince you to keep secrets or buy you things to convince you to keep secrets.

Sexual violence and abuse is any behaviour of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without your consent. Sexual violence and abuse can be physical, psychological, verbal or online. Any behaviour of a sexual nature which causes you distress is considered sexual violence or abuse. This may also include the following which you may have heard of:

  • Peer-on-peer abuse includes, but is not limited to physical and sexual abuse, sexual harassment and violence, emotional harm, on and offline bullying and teenage relationship abuse.
  • Unwanted Sexting sending, receiving, or forwarding sexually explicit messages, photographs, or videos, primarily between mobile phones but on any device. Sexting is commonly known as “trading nudes”, “dirties” or “pic for pic”.
  • Revenge porn or sharing intimate content online 
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE) When a child or young person is exploited they’re given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. Children and young people are often tricked into believing they’re in a loving and consensual relationship. This is called grooming. They may trust their abuser and not understand that they’re being abused.
  • Trafficking Children and young people can be trafficked into or within the UK to be sexually exploited. They’re moved around the country and abused by being forced to take part in sexual activities, often with more than one person. Young people in gangs can also be sexually exploited.
  • Creating explicit images of a child is illegal, even if the person doing it is a child. It is against the law in the UK for someone under the age of 18 to take an explicit photo or video of themselves or a friend.

Sexual abuse often happens along with other types of abuse, some of these are listed below:

Physical abuse

This is when someone harms, injures or hurts you physically (on your body) on purpose. Examples of this may be:

  • Hitting you
  • Shaking or suffocating you
  • Burning you
  • Scratching, pinching or biting you

Emotional and psychological abuse

This happens when someone continually makes you feel bad about yourself by calling you names, shouting at you, scaring you or humiliating you.
This can also happen when someone ignores you and purposely leaves you out or treats you differently than others.
Emotional abuse can be linked to other types of abuse but sometimes happens on its own.

  • Calling you names
  • Shouting at you
  • Scaring you
  • Humiliating you
  • Ignoring you
  • Treating you differently than others

Domestic abuse

When someone in your home uses controlling, bullying or violent behaviour against others in your home this is called domestic abuse. You may become involved in this or see it happening which may feel unsafe.

  • Bullying or violent behaviour