Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

What is 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 (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse. Males, females and other children can commit acts of sexual abuse. For more information on sexual abuse visit the NSPCC’s website.

If you’re being sexually abused or you think your friend might be, please call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit, they will listen to you and will be able to help.

What is child Sexual Exploitation?

Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse. It occurs where an individual or group takes advantage of an imbalance of power to coerce, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into sexual activity (a) in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, and/or (b) for the financial advantage or increased status of the perpetrator or facilitator. The victim may have been sexually exploited even if the sexual activity appears consensual. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact; it can also occur through the use of technology.

If you’re being sexually exploited or you think your friend might be, visit this website for help and information; or call Childline on 0800 1111 or visit, they will listen to you and will be able to help.

Staying safe while exploring your sexuality

Help keep yourself safe while exploring your sexuality; check out these leaflets and websites for information and advice on everything you need to know: