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Sexual violence is an umbrella term that covers a broad range of sexual behaviours, language or activities that are unwanted and happen without consent. It can make a person feel uncomfortable, frightened, threatened or even numb.


Sexual violence can happen to anyone, with most sexual violence being perpetrated by someone the victim knows and trusts, for example, a partner, friend, work colleague, family member or acquaintance.

Sexual violence includes a whole range of behaviours and experiences that occur throughout a person's lifetime, including;

  • Childhood sexual abuse and incest

  • Teen dating violence

  • Intimate partner sexual violence

  • Elder sexual abuse

  • Sexual harassment eg unwanted sexual comments or jokes, touching, pinching, patting

  • Unwanted sexual texts, photos, emails, posts and/or messages

  • Being forced to watch or look at pornography or re-enact sexual scenes from porn

  • Image-based abuse (or revenge porn) and having intimate photos shared without consent

  • Any sexual activity when someone can't consent because they are drunk, out of it, unconscious or asleep

  • Any sexual activity that a person can't consent to because they do not understand what they are agreeing to

  • Being pressured, coerced, blackmailed, or tricked into sexual activity

  • When someone with more power than you eg. a teacher or boss, misuses that power to engage in sexual behaviours with you

Sexual violence is any unwanted act of a sexual nature that may or may not involve physical touch and can be experienced offline as well as online. 

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