Sexual Abuse


Sexual abuse is where a child has been exposed or involved in sexual behaviors that are manipulative and inappropriate to their age.

Examples of sexual abuse include sexual penetration, inappropriate touching, exposure to sexual acts and pornographic materials.

The harm experienced by a child as a result of these behaviors is highly significant in the child’s wellbeing. Harm resulting from sexual abuse includes bodily injuries and infections, disturbances and impaired emotional development.

Considerations of the court include the role of intimidation or unequal power in a relationship that is claimed to be consented to, the child’s age and the nature of the relationship.

There is no single cause of child abuse. Children may be abused for a number of reasons, these include:

  • Various addictions for example drugs, alcohol etc.
  • Parent not being able to cope
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Anger management issues
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome
  • Mental illness

While physical signs (such as bruises) or changes in behaviour may be a cause for concern, these indicators have also been seen in children who have not been subjected to abuse. If you have concerns for a child’s safety and well being contact the Department for Child Protection to discuss your concerns on 1800 622 258.

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