What is Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)?

Child Sexual Abuse is the use of a child – girl or boy – for sexual gratification by an older or more powerful person. The offender is usually an adult, but could also be a more powerful child.

Types of child sexual abuse

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CSA may be in the form of a single incident or many acts over a long period of time. Someone known to the child more often perpetrates abuse. Abuse may escalate over time, particularly if the abuser is a family member. Child Sexual Abuse includes both touching and non-touching behavior (but need not be limited only to these acts).  It is CSA if there is:

  • Fondling- Touching genitals
  • Obscene phone calls
  • Exhibitionism
  • Masturbation
  • Exploitation – giving or receiving money / gifts / chocolates for using a child for sexual gratification
  • Intercourse
  • Oral or anal sex
  • Prostitution
  • Pornography
  • Or any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare

At What Age Can CSA Start

One of the youngest victims of sexual abuse was a one and a half months old baby. However, in majority of cases, sexual abuse begins around 5 years of age, peaks at around 12 -14 years of age and then begins to decline (as per the Govt. report). It can, however, continue into adulthood.

Who Can Abuse a Child?

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Rarely complete strangers, most often family members or acquaintances and someone the victim trusts explicitly:

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    Fathers / mothers
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    Siblings / cousins
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    Other family members – uncles, aunts
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    Neighbors, caregivers.
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    Religious leaders

Children More Vulnerable to sexual abuse

  • Children with low self-esteem.
  • Marital discord households, financial instability, illness-persistent or terminal illness, and the arrival of a younger sibling.
  • Children who are overly fearful of adults.
  • Children with parents who are ‘too busy’ for them.
  • Children without parental care- orphans, unaccompanied and separated children, street children, child laborers, children in institutions, etc.
  • Children living with mental or physical disability.

Children Less Vulnerable to sexual abuse

  • Children who receive physical affection and have good communication with their parents or caregivers.
  • Children with parents or caregivers who are aware of their child’s environment.
  • Children in a loving and secure family setting.
  • Children who respect authority but are not overly fearful of it.
  • Children who know personal safety rules in relation to sexual abuse.