Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is usually undesired sexual behaviour by one person upon another. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester. The term also covers any behavior by an adult or older adolescent towards a child. The use of a child or other individuals younger than the age of consent for sexual stimulation is referred to as child sexual abuse (CSA).


Spousal sexual abuse is a form of domestic violence (DV) and when the abuse involves forced sex it may constitute rape. Child sexual abuse occurs when a child is abused for the sexual gratification of an adult or older adolescent. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest and often results in more serious and long-term psychological harm.


Around the world approximately 18–19% of women and 8% of men report being sexually abused when they were children. The gender gap may be caused by higher victimization of girls, lower willingness of men to disclose abuse, or both. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims, approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins, around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbours; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men, women commit approximately 14% of offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against girls.


People with developmental disabilities are often victims of sexual abuse with research indicating it is because of their lack of understanding. Also at risk are elderly people, especially those with dementia, can be at risk of abuse with offenders most often being other residents of aged care homes as well as staff. Sometimes abuse victims are not believed because they are not seen as a credible witness due to their dementia and perpetrators frequently target victims who they know are unlikely to be believed. Sex abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse in nursing homes.


Sexual abuse is difficult to determine as it is often not reported with most experts believing the incident to be far greater than what is reported.


Victims of Sexual Abuse go to:



We provide various types of support services and information for parents.