Sexual abuse is any interaction between a child and an adult or older child in which the child is used for the sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or an observer. Sexual abuse often involves direct physical contact, touching, kissing, fondling, rubbing, oral sex, or penetration of the vagina or anus. Sometimes a sex offender may receive gratification just by exposing himself to a child, or by observing or filming a child removing their clothes. Offenders often do not use physical force, but may use play, deception, threats, or other coercive methods to engage youngsters and maintain their silence.

Appears in: Defining Abuse