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Sexual Abuse

What is Sexual Abuse?

Child Sexual Abuse 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 and includes:

  • 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 a child images of sexual activity including photographs, videos or via webcams

What to look out for: Signs and Symptoms

Children who have been/are being sexually abused may show signs of abuse or they may try to tell you about the abuse through hints or clues. They may also describe behaviour by an adult that suggests they are being groomed for future abuse. Other signs include:

  • Suddenly starting to behave differently - aggressive behaviour, sleep problems, bed-wetting or soiling, risk-taking behaviour during adolescence, negative thoughts, not looking after themselves, problems at school
  • Avoiding particular adults - avoiding being alone with a particular family member, being fearful of an adult or being reluctant to socialise with them
  • Sexually inappropriate behaviour - becoming sexually active at a young age sometimes with multiple partners, use of sexual language or information that you would not expect them to know
  • Physical symptoms - anal or vaginal soreness, an unusual discharge, pregnancy

Worried About A Child or Do You Need Help?

Children’s Reception Team
(IOW Social Care)

Phone Number: 0300 300 0117. Call any time day or night

Report your concerns about yourself, a child or friend to Children’s Reception Team (IOW Social Care)


If there is immediate danger call 999

Phone Number: 0808 800 5000 or if you are 18 or under call 0800 11 11

A leading children's charity fighting to end child abuse in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. They help children who have been abused to rebuild their lives, protect those at risk, and find the best ways of preventing abuse from ever happening.

Phone Number: 0800 11 11

A free, private and confidential service where you can be you. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, however you want to get in touch. We're here for you online, on the phone, anytime.