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What is Sexual Violence

Sexual violence can be defined as any behaviour perceived to be of a sexual nature that takes place without consent or understanding.

Sexual Violence is an appalling crime, which can devastate the lives of survivors and their families and inspires fear in our communities. The trauma experienced by victims can affect all aspects of their physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing.

There are key differences between domestic violence and sexual violence. Domestic violence can be defined as physical, sexual, psychological or financial violence that takes place within an intimate or family-type relationship and that forms a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour.

Sexual violence is an umbrella term that encompasses a broad range of activities, physical, visual and verbal, that are: of a sexual nature; take place without consent or understanding; experienced, at the time or later, as a threat, invasion or assault and that take away the ability to control intimate contact.

Sexual violence includes:

  • Rape - within marriage, dating relationships, rape by strangers
  • Sexual Assault/assault by penetration
  • Sexual abuse of women working in the sex industry
  • Unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment
  • Sexual acts through coercion, manipulation or exploitation
  • Sexual abuse of children/incest
  • Ritual abuse
  • Sexual abuse of vulnerable adults
  • Forced watching/participation in pornography
  • Forced prostitution
  • Flashing
  • Trafficking of people for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  • Pressure or coercion into sexual activity
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Sexting
  • Unwanted sexual touching