Sexual abuse

There are many different types of sexual violence including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, rape within relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation.

If you are under 16 you cannot legally consent to any sexual activity as explained in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Not all-sexual abuse happens in person, many crimes are committed online. Crimes can be committed by total strangers but, in most circumstances, it will be by someone you know such as a friend or by family members.

Any type of sexual abuse can be distressing. You might feel ashamed or embarrassed about what has happened to you and you may not feel nothing at all. It’s very normal to feel like you cannot talk to anybody. Remember, you are not to blame. Nothing you do could ever justify someone else forcing you to do or see things you don’t want to.

Help and support

If you are unsure about what to do or if you simply need someone to talk to, you can speak to us in confidence and we will find the best way forward together.

It doesn’t matter if you haven’t told anyone about your experience before or if it happened a long time ago.

If you need support please contact us.

What is consent?

Myths and facts about rape and sexual abuse

Myth: Most rapes are committed by strangers.
Fact: Most rapes are carried out by somebody you know and trust.

Myth: Rape and sexual abuse happen because of the way the victim is dressed.
Fact: Rape and sexual abuse have nothing to do with what the victim wears. Nobody has the right to have sex with someone without their consent.

Myth: If someone’s drunk when they’re raped it’s their own fault.
Fact: The only person to blame is the rapist. Being drunk doesn’t give anyone the right to hurt you.

Rape and sexual abuse don’t happen to boys or men.
Fact: This is not true – boys and men can also be raped or sexually abused. Sexual activity without consent is abuse, regardless of whether you are male or female.

If your boyfriend forces you to have sex, it is not real rape.
Fact: If you have been forced to have sex by anyone, it is rape.

When it comes to sex, some people say ‘no’ but they really mean ‘yes’.
Fact: No means no but sometimes people may be too frightened to say anything. This doesn’t mean they are consenting to sex.