Sexual offences and child abuse
Release date: Fri 8 June 2012
Last updated: Wed 23 August 2017
What is a sexual offence?
Sexual offences are generally defined as a sexual activity that a person has not consented to, and it can refer to a broad range of sexual behaviours that make the victim feel uncomfortable, frightened or threatened. Sexual offences can include rape, incest, indecent offence, child sexual offence and sexual molestation.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is an act or omission that endangers a child's physical or emotional health or development. By definition, abuse is not an accident, but neither is it always the intention of the person to inflict harm or injury.
Child abuse may be physical, sexual or emotional, and may occur through neglect and in some cases harm may be accumulative.
There are many professionals who are legally required to report suspected child abuse to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Protection Service. Such professionals include:
Any person who suspects child abuse can contact DHS Child Protection Service to make a report.
What is Human Trafficking?
The United Nations define human trafficking as, "The acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them."
Human trafficking affects men, women and children and may involve slavery, sexual servitude, labour exploitation and debt bondage.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has dedicated human trafficking teams in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Click here for more information, or to report suspected human trafficking.
In an emergency call Triple Zero (000).
For more information see
Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) (24 hours) 1800 806 292