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Serving Adolescent Victims

Defining Adolescent Sexual Assault

According to the Committee on Adolescence, to be able to identify, treat, and manage adolescent victims of sexual assault, it is important to first understand certain definitions of assault:34

  • Sexual Assault: Multiple types of forced or inappropriate sexual activity (e.g., sexual contact with or without penetration that occurs because of physical force or psychological coercion, touching of a person's private parts).
  • Molestation: Sexual activity without vaginal penetration between a child and an adolescent or adult (e.g., viewing of sexual materials, fondling of private parts, oral-genital contact).
  • Rape: Forced sexual intercourse through physical force or psychological coercion involving vaginal, anal, or oral penetration; penetration using a foreign object; or situations in which the victim cannot give consent (e.g., the victim is intoxicated or has developmental disabilities).
  • Acquaintance Rape and Date Rape: Assailant and victim know each other.
  • Statutory Rape: Sexual penetration by a person age 18 or older of a person younger than the age of consent, which would be legal if not for age. Age of consent varies by state. In some states, sexual contact must be reported if certain age differences exist between a minor and his or her sex partner (whether minor or adult), even if the sexual act was voluntary and consensual.