What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse involves an offender and a child victim. The offender may be an adult or an older child. The perpetrator has more power than the child and is in a dominant position, forcing the child into sexual activity. Child abuse is seldom a one-time event and often occurs with regularity. Most victims are familiar with their abusers, who are family members, trusted family friends, or community members. Stranger abuse is less common and occurs more frequently with boys.

Sexual abuse is defined as the use of a child to sexually stimulate or satisfy the sexual urges of the abuser. Child sexual abuse may include fondling a child's genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal and anal intercourse. However, child sexual abuse is not restricted to physical contact and includes non-contact abuse, such as exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography.

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