Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse involves persuading or forcing a child to take part in sexual activities, or encouraging a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

What is Sexual Abuse?
The sexual abuse of children is more than just physical sexual contact and includes:
  • Sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed
  • All penetrative sex, including penetration of the mouth with an object or part of the body
  • Encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity including sexual acts with someone else and making a child strip or masturbate
  • Intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child
  • Not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activity by others
  • Meeting a child following sexual “grooming” with the intention of abusing them
  • Taking, making, permitting to take, distributing, showing or advertising indecent images of children
  • Paying for the sexual services of a child or encouraging them into prostitution or pornography
  • Showing a child images of sexual activity including photographs, videos or via webcams
Acts of child abuse are committed by men, women, teenagers and other children.

What to look out for: Signs and Symptoms
Children who have or are being sexually abused may show a variety of signs, they may try to tell you about abuse through hints or clues. They may also describe behaviour by an adult that suggests they are being groomed for future abuse. Other signs include:
  • Suddenly starting to behave differently, aggressive behaviour, sleep problems, bed-wetting or soiling, risk-taking behaviour during adolescence, negative thoughts, not looking after themselves, Ppoblems with school
  • Avoiding particular adults, avoids being alone with a particular family member, fears an adult or is reluctant to socialise with them
  • Sexually Inappropriate behaviour, becoming sexually active at a young age, promiscuity, use of sexual language or information that you would not expect them to know
  • Physical symptoms, anal or vaginal soreness, an unusual discharge, pregnancy
Further information, useful advice and guidance can be found on the following websites:
  • Stop It Now - A campaign for preventing child sexual abuse
  • NSPCC - Children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK
  • Mosac Support for non-abusing parents and carer

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