Legal Dictionary

sexual abuse

Definition of sexual abuse

Further reading

Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another, when that force falls short of being a sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or (often pejoratively) molester.[1] The term also covers any behavior by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexually. When the victim is younger than the age of consent, it is referred to as child sexual abuse.

Types of sexual abuse

There are many types of sexual abuse, including:

  • Non-consensual, forced physical sexual behavior such as rape or sexual assault
  • Sexual kissing, fondling, exposure of genitalia, and voyeurism.
  • Exposing a child to pornography.
  • Saying sexually suggestive statements towards a child.
  • The use of a position of trust to compel otherwise unwanted sexual activity without physical force
  • Incest, when it is coerced by force or emotional manipulation.


  1. "Peer commentaries on Green (2002) and Schmidt (2002)". Archives of Sexual Behavior 31. 2002. "Child molester is a pejorative term applied to both the pedophile and incest offender.".

See also


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     lex causae
2.     lex situs
3.     lex loci celebrationis
4.     lex patriae
5.     Clayton's Case
6.     lex domicilii
7.     AORO
8.     lex loci delicti commissi
9.     defence of property
10.     Miranda warning