What is Sexual Assault?

The NSW Attorney General & Justice has developed a comprehensive website you may find useful to explore. Explore their "What is sexual assault" page, but you might also like to look at the other information by clicking on the links on the left hand side of their page.

1Sexual assault is a general term used to describe all types of sexual crimes:

  • Sexual assault is when a person forces you to have sexual contact against your will. It occurs when a person touches you or makes you touch them in a sexual way when you don’t want them to or that you don’t like. It is an abuse of power and trust.
  • When consent is not freely and voluntarily given.
  • It includes incest, sexual abuse, rape, indecent behaviour, indecent assault, sexual molesting, child sexual abuse and child sexual assault.
  • Mostly sexual assault is committed against women and girls, however we know men and boys are also sexually assaulted. No matter what gender you are, sexual assault is a crime.

Sexual assault is a crime that can have immediate, short and long-term effects both physically and emotionally.

For more information on the impacts of sexual assault, you might like to read this article from ACSSA.


Myths and lies about sexual assault - These can influence the way you may feel and how friends and family react.
Common ones include:

  • Women deserve to be sexually assaulted
  • Women attract sexual assault by the way they dress and carry on
  • Women make up stories about being sexually assaulted
  • Men who sexually assault can't control themselves
  • Alcohol and being drunk makes men sexually assault women
  • Rapists don’t look like ordinary men
  • When a woman says no she really means yes
  • If you are abused by your husband, partner or dad it is not sexual assault

These myths make women feel it is their fault or responsibility instead of blaming the man who committed the crime. This can lead to feelings of self blame, shame, humiliation and isolation.


More information about sexual assault can be found at this website. The information includes Support and Counselling, Safety and Protection, Reporting to Police, Court Processes and Resources.

You can also find some important Aboriginal resources on Domestic Violence and sexual assault at the link: www.lawfoundation.net.au Some of this information is included on this website.

help and support

Domestic and Family Violence is a crime. There is no excuse for violence. If you or someone you know is a victim of violence or abuse, there is help available. If you are in immediate danger (if your life or your children´s life is being threatened) call 000 (triple zero) and ask for the police or for other help ring the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63 from anywhere in NSW, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Translators are available.