About sexual violence

Sexual violence is any behaviour of a sexual nature which is unwanted and which takes place without consent or understanding or when coercion is used to obtain consent. It may not be violent but will always be violating.

Forms of sexual violence include attempted rape; unwanted sexual touching; forcing upon someone sexual acts including oral sex; penetration of the victim’s body, also called rape. Rape is a form of sexual assault but not all sexual assault is rape.

Rape is, by definition: ‘unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim’.

Sexual violence can be perpetrated in different ways. The long-term effects of sexual violence can include many emotional, psychological and physical conditions.  The experience of sexual assault or abuse at any age can have devastating effects on every aspect of a person’s being and life. Sexual trauma is the term we use to describe the long-term effects of sexual violence.

The image shows a woman in visible distress, on the phone.


Sexual trauma is the term we use to describe the long-term effects of sexual violence.

Find out more Impact


There are some strategies you may be able to use to help you cope with difficulties in sleeping and controlling panic and/or sudden distress.

Find out more Coping

Child sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse encapsulates ANY sexual activity between a child/adolescent and an adult, with or without physical touch.

Find out more Child sexual abuse

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is often talked about in terms of physical, emotional and financial abuse. However, domestic abuse also involves rape and sexual assault.

Find out more Domestic violence

Ritual abuse

If you think you may have been the victim of ritual abuse, then some of the following information may be triggering for you.

Find out more Ritual abuse

Supporting a survivor

Supporting someone who has been abused can be upsetting and shocking. You may be affected by what they are saying and left feeling frustrated and helpless.

Find out more Supporting a survivor

Myths, facts and figures

Myths about rape, sexual assault and child sexual abuse minimise the gravity of the crimes and lessens the ability to hold perpetrators to account.

Find out more Myths, facts and figures

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