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Child Sexual Abuse

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Sexual abuse is one form of child abuse. It includes a wide range of actions between a child and an adult or older child. Often these involve body contact, but not always. Exposing one's genitals to children or pressuring them for sex is sexual abuse. Using a child for pornography is also sexual abuse.

Most sexual abusers know the child they abuse. They may be family friends, neighbors or babysitters. About one-third of abusers are related to the child. Most abusers are men. If you think a child may have been abused, it's important to report it.

Start Here

  • Child Sexual Abuse (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry) Also in Spanish
  • Child Sexual Abuse (National Center for PTSD)

Living With

  • Parenting a Child Who Has Been Sexually Abused: A Guide for Foster and Adoptive Parents (Children's Bureau) - PDF

Related Issues

  • Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse (American Psychological Association)


  • Signs of Childhood Sexual Abuse (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish

Statistics and Research

  • CDC Vital Signs: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: Improving professional practice in the investigation and management of intrafamilial child...
  • Article: Clinical Stakes of Sexual Abuse in Adolescent Psychiatry.
  • Article: Sociodemographic and Clinical Characteristics of Child Sexual Abuse Reported to an...
  • Child Sexual Abuse -- see more articles

Find an Expert

  • National Center for Missing and Exploited Children


  • Youth and Teens Page (National Runaway Safeline)


  • Helping Yourself Heal: A Recovering Man's Guide to Coping with the Effects of Childhood Abuse (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF


  • Helping Yourself Heal: A Recovering Woman's Guide to Coping with Childhood Abuse Issues (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) - PDF Also in Spanish

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.