Sexual Abuse, Image of a hand on woman's face.

Sexual abuse is a serious crime with far-reaching consequences and long-term effects for victims. To learn more about the devastating crime of sexual abuse, consult the frequently asked questions below.

What is sexual abuse 1st degree?

Sexual abuse in the 1st degree is when someone forces another person to engage in sexual contact. First-degree sexual abuse also constitutes forcing someone to engage in sexual conduct when the victim is incapable of providing consent due to mental incapacity, physical weakness, is under the age of 12, or has a delayed development issue. Sexual abuse in the 1st degree also covers someone 21 or older who forces a 16-year-old to have sexual contact or engages in self-pleasure while a 16-year-old is present or watching. First-degree sexual assault is a Class C or D felony, depending on the victim’s age.

What sexual abuse 2nd degree?

Sexual abuse in the 2nd degree is when someone between the ages of 18-21 forces a victim who is younger than 16 years old to engage in sexual contact. Second-degree sexual abuse usually entails an adult who supervises young people, such as an employee of a juvenile detention center that houses kids younger than 16. It may also apply to a peace officer who abuses someone in their care or custody. Sexual abuse in the 2nd degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

What is sexual abuse 3rd degree?

Sexual abuse in the 3rd degree is when someone forces another person to engage in sexual conduct without their consent because they are underage (less than 16 years old). The abuser is between the ages of 14-18. This type of sexual abuse is classified as a Class B misdemeanor.

What is sexual abuse in a relationship?

Sexual abuse in a relationship is when one partner uses force, manipulation, or intimidation to control their intimate partner. It usually involves any type of unwanted or non-consensual sexual act or contact. Whenever a person coerces their partner to perform a sexual act that they do not want to, it constitutes sexual abuse. Relationship sexual abuse is more common than most people realize.

What causes sexual abuse?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Sexual abusers may victimize others for various reasons. Some of them were victimized or neglected as children and carry that trauma. Others may have unnatural urges or desires, and they act out their feelings by abusing victims. Some abusers suffer from undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses. Most often, sexual abuse comes from a desire to have power over others. Whenever an abuser feels insecure about their own lives, they may abuse others to gain back a feeling of being in control.

When is it considered sexual abuse?

Whenever someone forces another person to have sexual contact or engage in sexual conduct of any type (even watching) without the victim’s consent, it is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse refers to any non-consensual sexual act between two or more people.

When to report sexual abuse?

Any victim of sexual abuse, no matter how young or old, regardless of the circumstances, should report it to the authorities and seek help immediately. The long-term effects of continued abuse may be challenging to overcome. However, the sooner the victim reports the abuse, the sooner they can begin to heal.

Where to report sexual abuse?

Anyone younger than 18 should report the abuse to a trusted guardian or adult. Anyone over the age of 18 should report the abuse to local law enforcement. They can also contact RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the national organization designed to help victims report and recover from sexual abuse. They also have programs to help bring sexual abusers to justice. Call RAINN at Call 800.656.4673.

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