Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse involves sexual behaviour by one person upon another that is done by force or without consent. If the incident occurs infrequently or in short duration, it is called sexual assault. 

Other types of sexual abuse can include: 

  • rape or sexual assault
  • indecent exposure
  • sexual harassment
  • inappropriate looking or touching
  • sexual teasing or innuendo
  • sexual photography
  • forcing someone to watch pornography or to witness sexual acts

Warning signs may include:

  • bruising, particularly to the thighs, buttocks, upper arms or marks on the neck
  • torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • bleeding, pain, or itching in the genital area
  • difficulty in walking or sitting
  • foreign bodies in genital or rectal openings
  • infections, unexplained genital discharge, or sexually transmitted diseases
  • pregnancy in a woman who is unable to consent to sexual intercourse
  • uncharacteristic use of explicit sexual language or significant changes in sexual behaviour or attitude
  • incontinence unrelated to any medical diagnosis
  • self-harm
  • poor concentration, emotional withdrawal, or sleep disturbance
  • excessive fear/apprehension of, or withdrawal from, relationships
  • fear of receiving help