CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE is devastating for children, for boys as much as for girls. It is a major cause of morbidity in children and adults. The outlook for victims of child sexual abuse is bleak if the abuse is not identified at an early stage as they may be then at risk of abuse for years and could be vulnerable to other perpetrators. Recognition of child sexual abuse and protection of its victims depends on the willingness of adults to acknowledge that the abuse might be happening, to listen to and believe the child and take appropriate action in response to what they are being told.
Child sexual abuse is the sexual molestation of children by adults or older children (sexual, here meaning any activity that leads to sexual arousal in the perpetrator). The abuse may range from voyeurism and exhibitionism to oral, vaginal or anal penetration. It may be perpetrated by single or multiple perpetrators, on one or more occasions, and associated with other types of abuse. Working Together to Safeguard Children describes it as:
Forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative (e.g. rape or buggery) or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at pornographic material or watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.