Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration e.g. rape or oral sex or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside clothing. . They may include non contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of sexual images or in watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways or grooming a child in preparation for abuse, including via the internet. Sexual abuse may be committed by men, women and children.
Signs that may suggest sexual abuse:
- injuries, infections, or abnormal discharge, in the genital/anal/oral area;
- pregnancy, and identity of father is a secret or vague;
- shows worrying sexualised behaviour in their play or with other children or adults;
- seems to have inappropriate sexual knowledge for their age;
- a confusion of ordinary affectionate contact with abuse.