Sexual abuse

Adult sexual abuse refers to the direct or indirect involvement of a vulnerable adult in sexual activity to which they are unwilling or unable to give informed consent, or which they do not fully comprehend, or which violates the social taboos of family roles, eg, incest.

Typical examples of sexual abuse:

  • Rape
  • Actual or threatened sexual assault
  • Denial of a person’s right to enjoy privacy
  • Abuse of power to gain sexual satisfaction
  • Inappropriate use of explicit sexual language which causes offence
  • Involvement of adults in sexual activities which they do not understand or to which they have not given their consent
  • Non contact abuse - looking, photography, indecent exposure, harassment, sexual teasing or innuendo
  • Contact abuse - touching, e.g. of breast, genitals, anus, mouth,
  • Masturbation of either or both persons
  • Penetration or attempted penetration of vagina, anus, mouth with or by penis, fingers or other object.

Possible indicators of sexual abuse:

  • Emotional distress
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
  • Pain or itching in genital area
  • Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vagina or anal area
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Semen staining on clothing
  • Torn penile frenulum
  • Tissue tearing
  • Mood changes
  • Over-affectionate displays
  • Incestuous relationships
  • Inappropriate physical contact in terms of amount of contact or lack of contact
  • Change in usual behaviour
  • Feeling of guilt or shame
  • Withdrawal
  • Untypical changes, ie, bedwetting, aggressiveness, self injury
  • Overt sexual behaviour/language by the person
  • Love bites
  • Disturbed sleep pattern
  • Bruising on the inner thighs
  • Pregnancy
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