CASA House defines sexual assault is any sexual behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. It is sexual activity to which a person does not consent. The use of emotional or physical violence to force another person to engage in sexual activity also constitutes sexual assault. Sexual assault can take various forms, some of which are criminal offences:
- touching, fondling, kissing
- being made to look at, or pose for, pornographic photos
- sexual harassment
- verbal harassment/innuendo
- incest/intrafamilial child sexual assault
Sexual assault is a crime:
- against both the individual and society.
- predominantly experienced by women and children. Men do experience sexual assaults, although the incidence is much lower.
- common within families. The offender is rarely a stranger and is often someone that the victim/survivor knows and trusts, such as a family member or friend.
- in the main perpetrated by men who abuse a position of trust, authority and power.
Sexual assault can occur to people from all cultural backgrounds. It is a crime that can leave the victim/survivor feeling isolated and silenced. Victim/survivors never provoke a sexual assault, are never to blame and are never responsible for the actions of the offender.