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Sexual violence is an umbrella term used to describe any "non-consensual, unwanted, forced and/or coerced sexual behaviours" (Humphreys and Towl, 2020)  

This includes but is not limited to:

  • Physical violence or assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Image-based sexual abuse
  • Stalking
  • Domestic abuse/intimate partner abuse
  • Coercive and controlling behaviour
Sexual violence can happen in any setting - including at work, an educational setting, in public, and the home. It can also occur online via email, messages, and comments on social media or online forums. 

Sexual violence can be instigated by anyone, regardless of their sex, sexuality, age, disability, or race. Sexual violence can be experienced by anyone,  regardless of their sex, sexuality, age, disability, or race.  A common misconception is that sexual violence is instigated by strangers; however, it can be carried out by someone the recipient already knows well. 

Consent is the key consideration with sexual violence - as these acts are conducted without the informed consent of the survivor, as well as the reasonable belief of the perpetrator that consent has been given. 
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