Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse generally refers to sexual acts, sexual exploitation, or sexually motivated behaviors involving children.  It includes both touching offenses, such as fondling or sexual intercourse, and nontouching offenses, such as exposing a child to pornographic materials.  It can also involve varying degrees of violence and emotional trauma. 

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines sexual abuse as the “employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct” and the “rape, and in cases of caretaker or inter-familial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.”

Note that the most commonly reported cases of child sexual abuse involve incest, which is sexual abuse occurring among family members.