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Last updated:
23 October 2017

Sexual abuse

If you are a victim of sexual abuse or want to know more, find out where you can get help and support.

Sexual abuse is when someone forces or pressures you into sexual activity without your consent.

Find out more about what giving consent means and where you can get more information on our consent page.

There are lots of different types of pressure. Someone may use physical force, they may emotionally blackmail you, they may use drugs and alcohol, they may threaten you or someone you love, or they may tell you that it is your fault or responsibility.

If someone has sexually abused you it is never your fault.

Sometimes an abuser can be a stranger, but they are more likely to be someone you know such as a family member, a friend, a partner, ex-partner, or more than one person.

Even though sexual abuse is not talked about a lot that does not mean it is not happening. Sexual abuse is very common in our society, so if someone is hurting you or someone you know there are specialist organisations that you can talk to who will believe you.

Different types of sexual abuse include:

  • rape
  • sexual assault
  • touching or kissing
  • sharing of intimate images without your consent
  • sexual exploitation
  • online abuse
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  • making you touch or have sex with other people
  • sexual bullying including name calling
  • incest
  • making you watch pornographic material.

Sexting - It is illegal to take, possess or share indecent images of anyone under 18 even if you're the person in the picture.

Sexual abuse is never ok and it's never your fault if someone is hurting you. If you need to talk to someone in confidence contact one of the organisations below. 

Where you can get help and support

  • Rape Crisis - Find out how to get confidential help if you've experienced rape, child sexual abuse and/or any other kind of sexual violence and details of your nearest Rape Crisis services. Calls are free and confidential. 
    • National Rape Crisis helpline: 0808 8029999 
  • SurvivorsUK - Helps men who have been sexually abused either as adults or children. They offer support via text or web chat. 
  • Rape Crisis Surrey and Sussex - Provide local confidential services to women and girls over the age of 13 who have experienced any form of sexual violence at any point in their lives. 
    • Phone: 01293 538477
  • Childline - Talk to a counsellor. All calls are free and confidential. 
 

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