Facts and figures about abuse

Topic Selected: Child Abuse

General Article icon Type: General Article

What is abuse?

A child is sexually abused when another person who is more sexually mature involves the child in any activity which the other person expects to lead to their sexual arousal or gratification. It is not just intercourse or touching but includes non-touching activities which are sexually stimulating to the abuser.

It is defined by the Department of Health, Education and Home Office in their document Working Together to Safeguard Children, 1999:
‘Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.’

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