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About Sexual Violence & Abuse

Sexual violence and abuse is any behaviour of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding. This includes rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, childhood sexual abuse, female genital mutilation and more. You can read more about different types of sexual offences here.

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 and whether male or female can have devastating effects on every aspect of a person’s being and life – on their mind, their body, their behaviour, thoughts and feelings. You can find out more about the long term effects of sexual violence here.

Sexual violence is still very prevalent in our society. It is estimated that approximately 700,000 people aged 16 to 59 years were victims of a sexual assault in the last year (2017/18). It is estimated that only 1 in 5 survivors will ever report what happened to them to the police. Part of the reason why survivors do not report is due to a number of widely upheld rape myths and stereotypes. 

If you are a victim-survivor of sexual violence, no matter when this occurred or the circumstances that it occurred under, know that it was not your fault. You are not responsible for the actions of anyone else and you did not ask for this to happen to you.

To find support, please visit our Find Support in your Area page or call our helpline to speak with someone. You can read other survivors’ stories of healing here or check out our resources on Understanding and Healing here. If you are currently supporting a survivor of sexual violence, here are some useful tips.