Sexual abuse is when a person is forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This could involve physical contact with another person, but it could also involve things that happen online.
Sexual abuse is not an easy thing to talk about. You might feel frightened, ashamed or embarrassed to tell someone what is happening to you. It may be that someone doesn’t realise they are being sexually abused, because the abuser will make them think it is normal. Sexual abuse can also happen when someone does something sexual while you are present, even if you are not involved.
A few things to remember:
- The legal age of consent (when the law says you can make a decision about whether to have sex) is 16 years old.
- If an adult is involved in a sexual relationship with a child this is not allowed. It is illegal and it is abuse.
- You do not have to be ashamed if an adult has involved or tried to involve you in sexual activity. It is not your fault.
- An older person or adult may tell you it is ok to do the things they have been asking you to do. But if you are under 16 this is not ok.
- Even if you are over 16, it is your body and your choice. No means no. Even if someone tries to persuade you, you do not have to do anything you are not comfortable with. If someone has tried to make you do something sexual in return for gifts, please visit our CSE webpage.