Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is forced, pressurised, tricked or blackmailed into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or another young person.
This can include kissing, touching the young person's private parts or breasts, having sex including oral sex and anal sex. It is also sexual abuse if a child or young person is made to watch any kind of sexual activity.
Sexual abuse can happen online or in the real world. It can happen to anyone – boys and girls. If you are being sexually abused it's not your fault and you're not alone.
Sexual abuse is often done by someone you know. It might even be someone that you love and trust – for example, a family member or another young person (like a boyfriend or girlfriend). This doesn’t make it okay. It might only happen once or over a long period of time.
Sexual abuse is when:
- You're touched in a way you don't like without giving permission
- You're forced to have sex (intercourse)
- You're forced to look at dirty pictures or porn films
- You're made to watch someone doing something sexual. This can include someone flashing or exposing themselves to you
- You're made to do something sexual to someone that feels uncomfortable or wrong.
If this is happening to you, it is not your fault, no matter what the person doing it says. No one has the right to do things to you that you don’t like.
Reasons you might not want to tell
- I am embarrassed and feel stupid for letting this happen to me
- I am afraid I won’t be believed
- I’m scared nothing will change or the abuse will get worse
Speaking up about sexual abuse is a brave and difficult thing to do. There are people who care about you and want to help you. If this is happening to you or someone you know, you should talk to an adult you trust.
You can also call:
Childline on 0800 1111
Police Scotland on 101
Social Work on 0300 300 1199 (and 0800 811 505 after 5pm)
NSPCC Helpline on 0800 800 5000