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Child Sexual Abuse Definition



Child Sexual Abuse Takes a Variety of Forms

Sexual abuse of a child may occur through behaviors that do not involve actual physical contact.

Touching/Contact sexual abuse includes:

  • Touching a child’s genitals for sexual pleasure
  • Touching a child’s breasts for sexual pleasure
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to touch another’s genitals
  • Oral sex
  • Vaginal or anal penetration with a part of the body (e.g. finger, penis) or with an object

Non-Touching/Non-Contact sexual abuse includes:

  • Invitation to touch another in a sexual way
  • Voyeurism (watching a child bathe, dress, or toilet) for sexual gratification
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to masturbate or to watch others masturbate
  • Indecent exposure (“flashing”) or showing genital areas
  • Involving children in the viewing or production of pornographic materials
  • Encouraging or forcing children to watch sexual activities
  • Encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways
  • Verbal or emotional abuse of a sexual nature (e.g. calling a child a “slut”)

Adapted from Commit to Kids™ A Program to Help Child Serving Organizations Prevent Sexual Abuse. Special Edition for the State of Vermont. ©Canadian Centre for Child Protection Inc. 2008-2010.