What is Childhood Sexual Abuse?

Child1 sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult (or another child) in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. A central characteristic of any abuse is domination of the child by the perpetrator through deception, force, or coercion into sexual activity. Children, due to their age, cannot give meaningful consent to sexual activity.

Child sexual abuse includes touching and non-touching behaviors:

  • sexual kissing
  • inappropriate touching or fondling of the child’s genitals, breasts, or buttocks
  • masturbation
  • oral-genital contact
  • sexual or digital (with fingers or objects) penetration
  • pornography (forcing the child to view or use of the child in)
  • child prostitution
  • exposure or “flashing” of body parts to the child
  • voyeurism (ogling of the child’s body)
  • verbal pressure for sex