Sexual abuse is NEVER okay. You have the right to feel safe and protected. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused, there are services that you can go to for help.
For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, please contact us here.
Sexual abuse is where someone does something sexual that makes you feel uncomfortable, or touches your body in a sexual way without your consent.
In NSW it is a crime for someone to:
There are also additional laws that apply for sexual behaviour towards children and young people who are under the age of 16, including:
Consent is not a defence to these crimes unless the similar age defence applies. For more information about this defence, see our page on sex.
Consent means agreeing freely and voluntarily to a sexual activity. If you are thinking of doing something sexual with someone else, it is really important that you make sure you know how old they are, and check that they agree.
Consent is more complicated than just believing the other person consented. For this reason, it’s always best to check. When considering whether a person knew that a victim did not consent to a sexual act, a Court will look at what steps that person took to make sure the victim consented. This means you should take positive steps to make sure the other person agrees, which might include:
Even if someone says “yes” to a sexual activity, there are some situations in which they still cannot consent. These are:
A person might also be found not to have consented because:
It is also important to know that just because someone has consented in the past, it does not mean that they have given consent forever. Consent needs to be given every time you engage in sexual activity.
For more information about consent, check out:
If you are ever in immediate danger, please call the police straight away on 000 (triple zero) and try to get to a safe place.
If you have been sexually abused, you have the right to be protected and you can report the abuse by calling your local police station.
If you have been sexually abused, we strongly recommend that you get medical care. A doctor can test and treat you for any sexually transmitted infections, carry out a forensic examination (if you were abused very recently and you wish to report the crime to the police) and provide information on sexual abuse and follow-up services.
If you have been sexually abused, it is never your fault. If you feel comfortable, we encourage you to talk to someone you trust like a parent, family member, a close friend or a school counsellor. If you don’t want to tell anyone you know, you might feel more comfortable talking to a counsellor over the phone. You could call:
There are other support services that can help you. We have listed some of these at the bottom of this page.
If you have been sexually abused, you can make a report to police. You can do this by going to your local police station, or ringing the police assistance line on 131 444 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). If the abuse just happened, or if it is an emergency, please call the police on 000.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse, you do not have to make a report to police. It is your choice about whether, and if so when, you make a report to police. There are no limits on when you can report sexual abuse to the police, even if sexual abuse happened a long time ago.
However, if you are under 16, and you tell someone else what happened, they might have to make a report to police if they are a mandatory reporter.
If you are thinking about reporting to police, but you aren’t sure if you are ready, it can be a good idea to write down everything you remember about what happened, so that you have those details if you do decide to report. Remember to keep these details in a safe place.
If you decide not to make a formal report to police about sexual abuse, you can still fill in an on-line form (called a Sexual Assault Reporting Option or SARO). This doesn’t mean the police will investigate what happened, and it is not the same as making a formal report to police. It helps police gather information about sexual offences, and you can fill it out anonymously.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse, there may be a number of different ways you can get compensation or assistance, depending on what happened to you. These include:
There are some time limits that can apply to compensation. For example, applications for victims support for child sexual abuse or sexual assault must be made within 10 years after the act occurred, or 10 years after the victim turns 18.
If you think you might want to apply for compensation of support for sexual abuse, it is a good idea to talk to a lawyer to find out what your options are.
You can contact us for free and confidential advice here.
If you have been sexually abused, it can be really helpful to talk to a trained counsellor about what has happened. There are lots of free services that can give counselling and support to victims of sexual abuse, including:
You can also find out more about sexual abuse by looking at these websites:
If you are under 24 and you have any questions about sexual abuse, or if you want some advice on your options, you can contact us for free and confidential help.
If you have a problem or a question, you can send it to us today and we can provide you with free advice, information and referrals to help solve your problem. Just click on the button below.Get help now