Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) involves persuading or forcing a child to take part in sexual activities or encouraging a child to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Acts of child sexual abuse can be committed by adults regardless of gender or sexuality, as well as teenagers and other children.

The sexual abuse of children is more than just physical sexual contact. Sexual abuse can take place online, and technology can be used to facilitate offline abuse.


  • A child under 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual activity.
  • Whilst the legal age of consent for a sexual relationship is 16 years, any sexual relationship or sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old by a person in a position of trust is still unlawful, even if 'consensual'.
  • Children with special educational needs and disabilities are three times more likely to be abused than their peers and additional barriers can sometimes exist when recognising abuse in children with special educational needs and disabilities.
  • The majority of child sexual abuse is hidden; never reported or uncovered by an official agency. Data estimates that 15% of girls and 5% of boys will experience child sexual abuse before the age of 16. Only 1 in 8 will become known to professionals at the time.

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

  • Sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed.
  • All penetrative sex, including penetration of the mouth with an object or part of the body.
  • Encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity including sexual acts with someone else and making a child strip or masturbate.
  • Intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child.
  • Not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activity by others.
  • Meeting a child following sexual “grooming” with the intention of abusing them.
  • Taking, making, permitting to take, distributing, showing or advertising indecent images of children.
  • Paying for the sexual services of a child or encouraging them into prostitution or pornography.
  • Showing images of sexual activity to a child, including photographs, videos or via webcams.

Child Sexual Abuse Strategy and Toolkit

The HIPS Child Sexual Abuse Strategy has been developed to support a coordinated approach across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to prevent child sexual abuse, and improve the identification, protection, and support for victims, survivors and their families.

It has been created to improve the ways in which children’s needs and risks are understood, recognised and responded to at all stages.

In addition to the strategy, a toolkit with case studies, practical advice and information and guidance has been developed to assist practitioners in responding to child sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Strategy Child Sexual Abuse Toolkit
Neglected child