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Sexual abuse involves a person being made to take part in sexual activity when they do not, or cannot, agree to this.

It doesn’t necessarily involve physical contact and can also take place online.

Sexual abuse with contact can include sexual touching and all penetrative sex without the individual agreeing to this and/or being forced to take part in sexual activity including rape, inappropriate touching, or sexual activity where the other person is in a position of power of authority. This also includes the attempt of any of these actions.

Non-contact abuse involves non-touching activities, which may include indecent exposure, inappropriate looking, sexual harassment, or sexual photography without consent.

Possible indicators of sexual abuse:

  • physical injuries including bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks and upper arms and marks on the neck
  • bleeding, pain or itching in the genital area
  • unusual difficulty in walking or sitting
  • pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
  • the uncharacteristic or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitude
  • excessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationships
  • fear of receiving help with personal care
  • reluctance to be alone with a particular person
  • poor concentration, withdrawal, sleep disturbance
  • incontinence not related to any medical diagnosis
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