Have you been a victim of sexual abuse? Does it affect your day to day life? Has it affected you mentally? Here is some useful information you will find helpful.

What is Sexual Abuse?

“Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening.

The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, running and touching outside of the clothing. They may also include non-contact activities such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).

Sexual abuse us not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.”

(HM Government, 2015)

A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn’t have to be physical contact and it can happen online. Sometimes the child won’t understand that what’s happening to them is abuse. They may not even understand that it’s wrong.

There are 2 different types of child sexual abuse. These are called contact abuse and non-contact abuse.

Contact abuse involves touching activities where an abuser makes physical contact with a child, including penetration. It includes:

  • Sexual touching of any part of the body whether the child’s wearing clothes or not.
  • Rape or penetration by putting an object or body part inside a child’s mouth, vagina or anus.
  • Forcing or encouraging a child to take part in sexual activity.
  • Making a child take their clothes off, touch someone else’s genitals or masturbate.

Non-contact abuse involves non-touching activities, such as grooming, exploitation, persuading children to perform sexual acts over the internet and flashing. It includes:

  • Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts.
  • Not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activities by others.
  • Meeting a child following sexual grooming with the intent of abusing them.
  • Online abuse including making, viewing or distributing child abuse images.
  • Allowing someone else to make, view or distribute child abuse images.
  • Showing pornography to a child.
  • Sexually exploiting a child for money, power or status (child exploitation).

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they’re in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online.

Some children and young people are trafficked into or within the UK for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Sexual exploitation can also happen to young people in gangs.

When sexual exploitation happens online, young people may be persuaded, or forced, to:

  • Send or post sexually explicit images of themselves.
  • Take part in sexual activities via a webcam or smartphone.www.theaoc.org (32)
  • Have sexual conversations by text or online.

Abusers may threaten to send images, video or copies of conversations to the young person’s friends and family unless they take part in other sexual activity.

Images or videos may continue to be shared long after the sexual abuse has stopped.

Who Does It Effect?

Sexual assault affects many lives—both directly and indirectly. It can span age, sexual orientation, religion and gender, and affects people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels. It can happen to you at any stage in your life.

Younger people are more commonly effected by sexual abuse mainly between the ages of 18-25. Females are also more effected that males but there are cases of both genders being sexually abused.

It is a common misconception that sexual assault, rape etc are mostly perpetrated by strangers. In fact, most survivors of sexual abuse know their perpetrators in some way whether it be a partner, friend or acquaintance.

Facts & Statistics

  • One in five women are raped in their lifetime. This calculates to almost 22 million women in the US alone.
  • One in seventy-one men are also raped in their lifetime estimating to around 1.6 million men in the US.
  • According to Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) 60% of survivors or sexual abuse are assaulted by an intimate partner, relative, friend or acquaintance.
  • The above percentage is even higher for women who have been abused in college.
  • 6% of female rape victims were under the age of 25 when the incident occurred.
  • 42% of victims have been raped before the age of 18 putting the younger generation at greater risk.
  • One in four women experience unwanted sexual experiences in their lifetime.
  • One in six men experience unwanted sexual experiences in their lifetime.

Examples of People Who Have Been Emotionally Abused or Neglected

“An innocent child at the hands of a cruel grandfather.”Kacey’s Story – Pandora’s Project


“I wanted to become free, I wanted to become safe.” Crystal’s Story – Pandora’s Project.


“I began to use my voice & break the silence.”Candence’s Story – Pandora’s Project


“I didn’t think I’d ever be able to be that happy again.”Elizabeth’s Story – Pandora’s Project


“When I was 15, I was sexually abused by another male.” – A male survivors story (Anon) – SlugandLettauce.net

“A true horror story: The abuse of teenage boys in a detention centre” – Various stories – The Guardian.

How Can it be Treated?

The AOC can help you if you are or have been sexually abused and are still feeling the effects. We are HCPC (Health & Care Professions Council) registered and also members of BACP (The British Association of Dramatherapists). We have a team of highly skilled, professional counsellors and associate therapists to help you through with the use of creative art therapies.

Creative art therapies involve using arts in a therapeutic environment with a trained therapist. You do not need to have any artistic skill or previous experience of dance, drama, music or visual art to find arts therapies helpful. The aim isn’t to produce a great work of art, but to use what you create to understand yourself better. In arts therapy, your therapist helps you to create something — such as a piece of music, a drawing, a play or a dance routine — as a way of expressing your feelings, often without using words.

Creative art therapies can be offered in group sessions, one-to-one or with family therapy depending on your own preference. We will match you to our best suited therapist/counsellor to help you with any of your issues. All our counselling is strictly confidential and nothing said in the therapy space will leave the room.

There are many different modalities in which creative arts can be offered to you ranging from the following;

Offers profound reflection on who we are and the roles we play. These art forms are also centrally concerned with how people change people, for better or worse, and the sort of connections they make with each other, e.g. superficial, conflictual, brutal, deadened or deeply enriching. Drama and puppetry can also offer vital insights into ‘situation’: how past situations are still colouring those in the present. Working with puppets is ideal for circumventing a reluctance to speak about feelings.

Sculpture offers a person the power to speak through touch. Its power lies more in the emotional resonance of substance. Sculpture invites a sensual engagement with the world. Clay expresses qualities and forms of feeling, directly, plainly, free of the clutter of any associations of the everyday.

Literal words can misrepresent, underplay, hide rather than reveal and frequently offering only approximations to any recalled experience. In poetry as a multi-sensorial form, ‘amplifies the music of what happens’ (Seamus Heaney). ‘A poetic basis of mind’ (Hillman) can lead to a far more profound experience of life.

Clients choose from a whole world of miniature people, animals and buildings and arrange them in the controlled space of the ‘theatre of the sandbox’. This theatre then offers a profound overview of important life issues. Once feelings are organised and externalised in sandplay, they can be contemplated from a distance, and then assimilated.

The dynamic forms in music are recognisable as vital forms of felt life: the rises and falls, the surges and flooding’s, the tensions and intensities, the changes in tempo, the dissonances, harmonies and resolutions. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing. Music can convey the full qualitative and energetic aspects of an important relationship, atmosphere crucial event, or ongoing situation.

Forms encapture the complex inter-relations between time, weight, space, flow. We know these forms intimately in our emotional experiencing, so much so that both movement and still pose can provoke all manner of resonance. It is also possible to work with what the body is already communicating symbolically, whether through posture, gesture and gait, or through illness and injury. Movement is integral to the very process of change.


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If you would like to receive counselling from The AOC please fill out on of our online referral forms and send to support@theaoc.org.uk You will have a choice of 3 different types of referral forms;

  1. For individuals or couples
  2. Family referral form
  3. Group referral form

Please select the referral form most suited to you i.e. if you would like group therapy, fill out the group referral form.

Simply click the following link to find out more information and complete one of our referral forms:


We provide our clients with high-quality, evidence based expertise in the form of personal therapy and counselling. To help anyone suffering with any type of eating disorder.

Here is an example of a creative art therapy from The AOC in more detail;


Creative Arts Therapies (drama, art, movement, music therapy or psychodrama)

Dramatherapy is a form of psychological therapy/psychotherapy in which all of the  performance arts are utilised within the therapeutic relationship. Dramatherapy addresses a wide range of personal and emotional difficulties. Clients who are referred to a dramatherapist do not need to have previous experience or skill in acting, theatre or drama. Dramatherapists are trained to enable clients to find the most suitable medium for them to engage in group or individual therapy to address and resolve, or make troubling issues more bearable. Dramatherapists work in a wide variety of settings with people of all ages:

  • In schools
  • In mental health
  • In general health and social care settings
  • In prisons
  • In hospices
  • In the voluntary sector
  • In private practice

Dramatherapists are both artists and clinicians and draw on their training’s in theatre, drama and therapy to create methods to engage clients in effecting psychological, emotional and social changes.  The therapy gives equal validity to body and mind within the dramatic context; stories, myths, play-texts, puppetry, masks and improvisation are examples of the range of artistic interventions a dramatherapist may employ.  These will enable the client to explore difficult and painful life experiences through a creative-expressive approach. Dramatherapists are vtrained in both psychological and arts-specific assessment and evaluation techniques. They are committed to generating practice-based evidence and deliver sound evidence-based practice.

The British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth)

We can also offer our clients integrative counselling;

Integrative Counselling

Integrative therapy, or integrative counselling is a combined approach to psychotherapy that brings together different elements of specific therapies. Integrative therapists take the view that there is no single approach that can treat each client in all situations. Each person needs to be considered as a whole and counselling techniques must be tailored to their individual needs and personal circumstances.

Integrative counselling maintains the idea that there are many ways in which human psychology can be explored and understood – no one theory holds the answer. All theories are considered to have value, even if their foundational principles contradict each other – hence the need to integrate them.

The integrative approach also refers to the infusion of a person’s personality and needs – integrating the affective, behavioural, cognitive, and physiological systems within one person, as well as addressing social and spiritual aspects. Essentially, integrative counsellors are not only concerned with what works, but why it works – tailoring therapy to their clients and not the client to the therapy.

The Arts of Change. Dramatherapy 8.Top Health Tips

  1. Beware of controlling behaviour in a relationship – If a partner is becoming controlling let somebody you trust know & try to tell the partner also.
  2. Set limits and be firm – Set your limits from the beginning and be firm if anyody tries to go beyond those limits.
  3. Don’t give mixed messages – When answering yes or no, make sure you mean it and make sure they know it.
  4. Avoid secluded places – Don’t go anywhere secluded where sexual abuse is likely to take place. Stay around people, friends or family.
  5. If you feel pressured, leave – If you begin to feel pressured, call a friend/family member to pick you up or call a taxi & leave.
  6. Be aware that drugs and alcohol are related to sexual abuse – Drugs and alcohol are sometimes used when sexual abuse takes place, be aware of what you drink, don’t take drugs & be aware of what the other person is also drinking etc.
  7. Practise self-defence – Take up self-defence classes such as karate etc to help defend yourself if ever in a situation where sexual abuse may occur.
  8. Contact us – The AOC can help your overcome and put a stop to the sexual abuse you may be experiencing/experienced. Call or email us: 01384 211 168 / support@theaoc.org.uk