Child sexual abuse is when another person sexualises a child, or uses a child for their sexual gratification. For more information on child sexual abuse click here.

Incest refers to sexual abuse perpetrated by parents, grandparents and siblings, including half siblings. Sexual abuse by a dependent family member refers to abuse perpetrated by other relatives, non-blood relatives and/or guardians.

The sexual assault of males. The sexual abuse of boys and men is far more common than generally believed. Research indicates that 1 in 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 16 and 1 in 10 men will experience unwanted and distressing sexual contact within their lifetime. For more information visit our male survivors’ page.

Sexual abuse by an intimate partner or ex-partner is very common. Any individual in a relationship, whether opposite or same sex has the right to say no to their partner, husband or wife.

Sexual assault of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people. LGBTIQ people are just as likely, and sometimes more likely to experience some form of sexual abuse. LGBTIQ survivors have the same rights as heterosexual survivors to make a police report and/or apply for a protection order. Sentencing guidelines recognise crimes motivated by what the offender thinks of the survivor’s sexual orientation, and offenders motivated by homophobia can receive longer services.

Stranger rape is when someone is raped, abused or violated by a person or more than one person they do not know.

Acquaintance rape is sexual violation, abuse or rape by someone known to the survivor, but is not a partner or whanau member. The offender may be a friend, neighbour, employer, teacher, or someone vaguely known to them.

People with intellectual, mental or physical disabilities are more likely to be targeted for sexual violence. The Crimes Act identifies disability as important to the question of consent; consent is not given if the sexual activity took place while the victim was affected by an intellectual, mental or physical condition or impairment that meant they were unable to consent or refuse to consent to the activity.

Sexual violence against sex workers. Even though a client has paid for some sexual activity, this does not mean that a worker has given consent for all activities. A sex worker may give consent to one act but not another and may withdraw consent at any time.

Date rape is sexual abuse or rape that happens while people are on a date and may or may not be mediated by alcohol or other drugs.

Alcohol, drugs and sexual violence. Sexual assault may involve alcohol or drugs, whether by choice of the survivor or because they are administered drugs or alcohol against their will, or without their knowledge. By law, consent to sexual activity is not given if you are so affected by alcohol or drugs that you cannot consent or are unable to consent to sexual activity.

Sexual harassment is prohibited under the Human Rights Act 1993 and the Employment Relations Act 2000. Broadly, these Acts prohibit two types of sexual harassment:

  • requesting sexual activity with an implicit or overt promise of special treatment or a threat of harmful treatment
  • the use of language, visual material or physical behaviour of a sexual nature, which is unwelcome or offensive, and is either repeated or significant enough to have a detrimental effect

Some other important and prevalent types of sexual violence include; war rape during armed conflict, forced marriage including the marriage of children, denial of the right to contraception or other measures to protect against STI’s, forced abortion, forced genital mutilation, forced inspections for virginity, forced prostitution or trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Read more about this here: World Health Organisation: World report on violence and health: Chapter 6 sexual violence

Lack of consent is crucial to sexual violence. Sexual violence includes any act which is sexual in nature that somebody does not, or cannot consent to. In order for people to engage in any form of sexual activity with each other, there must be clear and freely given consent. Giving consent means that you understand what you are agreeing to, you want to engage in the sexual activity and that you are able to change your mind and stop at any time. Being coerced into sexual activity is not true consent.


Coercion is the use of pressure or force to make someone have sex against their will. Sexual coercion often makes people feel as if they have no choice and they have to engage in sexual activity even though they don’t want to. Sexual coercion may involve:


  • Flattery
  • Name calling
  • Continual arguments
  • Outright begging
  • Arguing with someone over sexual activity
  • Deliberately misleading someone, promising a relationship or telling someone that you love them
  • Saying things like: “You will love it once we get started”, “You did it with (some other person), “everyone else is doing it”, “you know you want to” and “don’t make me stop”.


  • Making you feel bad for not engaging in sexual activity
  • Acting hurt or angry if you refuse sexual activity
  • Saying things like: “Don’t you love me?”, “If you don’t do it I’ll break up with you/find it somewhere else”
  • Leaving you or your relationship


  • Buying gifts or spending money to make someone feel like they ‘owe’ sexual favours
  • Providing someone with a lot of alcohol in order to “loosen” someone’s inhibitions
  • Taking advantage of someone’s drunkenness


  • Using physical size, age or status to encourage sex
  • Explicit or implicit threats of force towards a person or some other person

Even if it is not listed here, anything that makes someone feel obligated, pressured, forced or as though you do not have a choice about whether you want to engage in sexual activity is sexual coercion.

Just because someone does not protest or physically resist sexual violence does not mean that they consented (New Zealand Crimes Act 1961)