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Sexual Abuse

26th June 2023

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is when someone is forced, coerced, or threatened into taking part in sexual activity. It can happen to anyone, in person or online. 

Sexual exploitation involves a person profiting from the use of another person’s body in a sexual manner to gain financially or otherwise.  

Both are crimes and the person who has been abused or exploited is NEVER at fault. 

Types of sexual abuse

  • Rape and sexual assault 
  • Being forced or pressured to send sexual images or videos of yourself. 
  • Sexual harassment, including staring, touching, receiving verbal, physical and online messages, or gestures. 
  • Someone exposing themselves to you. 
  • Restricting access to contraception 
  • Anything without consent 

This is not an exhaustive list. 

What if I have experienced sexual abuse?

Talk to someone

Go to someone you trust. You don’t have to tell them what happened, but if you are struggling, let someone know.

Don’t rush yourself

Healing may take time, so take things slowly and try to be kind to yourself.

Get medical help if needed

Find clinics across Hampshire at For support after rape or sexual assault, see The Treetops Centre or call their number on 0300 123 6616.

Do I have to report it to the police?

No, you don’t have to.

How can I help a survivor?


They might just need someone to talk to. Listening is very important here. You can help them to not feel isolated and that they have someone there for them, but don’t push them to talk if they don’t want to. They might not be ready or feel you are the right person. Be reassuring and supportive. 

Don’t judge

One of the most worrying things for someone who’s been abused may be fear of judgement. It is important that you don’t think differently of them and let them know that they won’t be judged.

Don’t tell

If someone trusts you enough for them to tell you, don’t tell their story for them. You don’t know who they’ve told, so keep it between you and the survivor.

Look after yourself

If it has happened to someone you know or is close to you, it’s important to look after yourself too. It will affect you too, so talk to someone you trust about how you feel and don’t bottle it up inside of you.

I want to talk to someone and find out more

You can talk to us in person, on the phone or online. We’re available six days a week for free and without having to make an appointment.

More help and resources

Survivors Network: Self-Help guide

SARSAS: Self-Help Guide for Men & Boys

NHS: Help After Rape and Sexual Assault

Rainn: Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault

Samaritans 24 hour support: Call 116 123 for free: Contact a Samaritan


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