Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Sexual abuse and exploitation

Sexual abuse includes rape, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, inappropriate looking or touching, sexual teasing or innuendo, sexual photography, subjection to pornography or witnessing sexual acts, indecent exposure and sexual assault or sexual acts to which the adult has not consented or was pressured into consenting.

Sexual abuse includes penetration of any sort, incest and situations where the person causing harm touches the abused person’s body (e.g. breasts, buttocks, genital area), exposes his or her genitals (possibly encouraging the abused person to touch them) or coerces the abused person into participating in or looking at pornographic videos or photographs. Denial of a sexual life to consenting adults is also considered abusive practice

Any sexual relationship that develops between adults where one is in a position of trust, power or authority in relation to the other (e.g. day centre worker/social worker/residential worker/health worker etc.) may also constitute sexual abuse.

Adults can be sexually exploited in many ways. Examples include:

  • Rape (which can include rape by a partner, if the sex is unwanted)
  • Sexual assault
  • Being tricked or manipulated into having sex or performing a sexual act
  • Being trafficked into, out of, or around the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation (i.e. prostitution)
  • Being forced to take part in or watch pornography
  • Being victim to revenge porn (when a previously taken video or photograph, which was taken with or without consent, is shared online)

Consideration must be given to the adult’s mental capacity, their best interests and if there are others (including children) who may be at risk and:

a) unexplained changes in demeanour and behaviour

b) tendency to withdraw and spend time in isolation

c) expression of explicit sexual behaviour and/or language which is out of characterd) irregular and or disturbed sleep pattern

e) bruising or bleeding in the rectal or genital areas

f) torn or stained underclothing

g) sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy

h) coerced, trafficked or manipulated to participate in sexual activity or porn

i) alcohol or drug induced behaviours which result in sexual activity

j) grooming activities towards adults at risk

k) being controlled and unable to please their partner

l) unfulfilled promises that abuse will stop

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