Sexual abuse is any sexual activity or behaviour for which the older person does not consent or is incapable of giving consent (e.g. a person living with dementia). It includes sexual assault.
Sexual abuse is a violation of human rights and mainly affects women. It can range from sexual harassment through to rape.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014) included a definition of sexual assault in their report “Sexual Assault in Australia: A statistical overview.” In part it said that sexual assault is unwanted behaviour directed towards a person
Older women are often represented within society as not being sexual. Therefore, an older woman might not be believed when she talks about an incident of sexual abuse. As a result, the number of reports of sexual assault against women declines with age. However, there’s evidence to suggest that sexual assault is under-reported significantly by older women.
An older woman might find it difficult to talk about sexual abuse because of the shame that it’s another family member perpetrating the abuse.
Sexual abuse includes sexually exploitative or shaming acts such as: