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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is sexual abuse?

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    ASCA is an Australian national charity which advances the health and wellbeing of people and communities affected by child abuse, for this and future generations.ASCA … View Profile

    Sexual abuse describes any incident in which an adult engages a minor in a sexual act, or exposes the minor to inappropriate sexual behaviour or material. Sexual abuse also describes any incident in which a child is coerced into sexual activity by another child. A person may sexually abuse a child using threats and physical force, but sexual abuse often involves subtle forms of manipulation, in which the child is coerced into believing that the activity is an expression of love, or that they child bought the abuse upon themself. Sexual abuse involves contact and non-contact offences.
    For more information, please visit www.asca.org.au

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    Victoria Bel

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    I work from a position of compassion and empathy, informed by Buddhist practice. I have over 20 years' experience in both the public and private … View Profile

    Sexual abuse occurs whenever a person is exposed to the sexual behaviour of another person in circumstances in which they are unable to give free and informed consent. The sexual behaviour can include unwanted touching of private parts, the other person exposing their genitalia to you - ether in person or by sending explicit photos, engaging in sexual behaviour in your presence eg. masturbation, lewd sexual comments either in person, phone calls or social media. Circumstances in which free and informed consent cannot be given include when the victim is underage, when the victim is under the influence of alcohol or substances, when the victim feels coerced such as fear for the safety of themselves or their children, if the victim has a disability or if the aggressor is in a position of power or authority such as an employer, cleric, medical or allied health professional. Not all these circumstances would necessarily meet the requirements for a successful legal prosecution but they often leave the victim with a range of unpleasant feelings including confusion, guilt, distress, powerlessness and anger. 

    Victoria Bel

    Clinical Psychologist 

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