In Australia, child abuse can refer to any of the following:
While most CAPS programs are designed to address all forms of child abuse, much of our work over the years has a particular focus on preventing child sexual abuse.
Any sexual activity between an adult (someone aged 18 or older) and a child (someone under the age of 16) is sexual abuse.
It encompasses a wide range of behaviours and situations. Offences can range from one-time occurrences to multiple experiences and can vary from non-contact sexual offences, such exposing a child to pornography, right up to forced sexual contact.
Whether it occurs face-to-face or online, the sexual exploitation of a child by an adult is always an abuse of power and is a crime in Australia.
We know that child sexual abuse happens behind closed doors and it is estimated that up to 90% of cases are never reported. This means that the true prevalence of child sexual abuse in our society is likely to be much worse than it appears.
All forms of abuse can affect a child’s emotional, psychological, cognitive, and physical well-being. Some typical signs of abuse include: