Contact abuse involves activities where an abuser makes physical contact with a child. It includes:
-sexual touching of any part of the body, whether the child is wearing clothes or not
-forcing or encouraging a child to take part in sexual activities.
-making a child take their clothes off or touch someone else's genitals.
-Rape or penetration by putting an object or body part inside a child's mouth, vagina or anus.
Non-contact abuse involves activities where there is no physical contact. It includes:
-Flashing at a child.
-Encouraging or forcing a child to watch or hear sexual acts.
-not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activities by others.
-making a child masturbate while others watch
-Persuading a child to make, view or distribute child abuse images (such as performing sexual acts over the internet, sexting or showing pornography to a child)
-Making, viewing or distributing child abuse images
allowing someone else to make, view or distribute child abuse images
-Meeting a child following grooming with the intent of abusing them (even if abuse did not take place).
-Sexually exploiting a child for money, power or status (child sexual exploitation).
Impact of child sexual abuse:
Experiencing sexual abuse can have a long-lasting negative impact on a child’s wellbeing that can reach into adulthood. Effects include:
-Mental health issues – such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
-Challenging behaviour – such as substance misuse, sexualised behaviour, offending
-Relationship problems – for example intimacy issues,having unstable relationships,being vulnerable to further sexual abuse or other types of abuse,etc.
Impact of online sexual abuse:
Research suggests that online child sexual abuse can have as much of an impact on a child as abuse that only takes place offline and can lead to the same psychological difficulties.
Trauma and adverse experiences, such as sexual abuse, can negatively affect the development of a child’s brain. Abuse may alter brain architecture, lead to heightened stress responses and weaken cognitive development.
Recognising child sexual abuse:
Signs and indicators;
Not all children will realise they are being sexually abused, particularly if they have been groomed. But there may be physical, behavioural and emotional signs that indicate a child has experienced sexual abuse.
Physical indicators include:
-pain or soreness in the genital or anal area
-sexually transmitted infections
-Pregnancy at a young age can also be an indicator of sexual abuse.
Emotional and behavioural indicators include:
-Being afraid of and/or avoiding a particular person (including a family member or friend)
-Having nightmares or bed-wetting
-Alluding to ‘secrets’
-Running away from home
-Developing eating problems
-Displaying sexualised behaviour or having sexual knowledge that’s inappropriate for their stage of development
-misusing drugs or alcohol.
Risk and vulnerability factors:
Any child or young person could potentially experience sexual abuse – but some groups of children may be more at risk:
-girls or boys below 17 years
-children who have experienced other forms of abuse
-children (boys and girls) who are surrounded by parents or adults who don't pay attention to them or hear them out. Always shutting them up from speaking up things that happen around them.