Glossary of terms


Sexual abuse / Harmful sexual behaviours

Sexual abuse and harmful sexual behaviour are the two terms that will be used interchangeably throughout the site.


Sexual abuse / harmful sexual behaviour are the terms to describe a sexual act that is exploitative and lacks mutual consent. In sexual abuse/harmful sexual behaviour, pressure, coercion and sometimes violence is involved between a person in a more powerful position and another person.


There are various types of behaviours that are considered harmful, not just those that involve penetrative sex. Explicit sexual threats, peeping/exposing, sexual harassment or innuendo, sexual touch that is unwanted or being forced to watch pornography are also considered harmful, among many others.


The treatment sector in New Zealand widely uses the terms:-

  • Harmful Sexual Behaviour - refers to young people aged over 10 years.
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  • Concerning Sexual Behaviour - refers to children aged 10 years and under.
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Occurring within a family.


Paedophile is the term to describe an adult who is sexually attracted to, and who sexually abuse, children.


Parents and caregivers are used interchangeably to define primary carers of both victims and perpetrators.


Perpetrator/offender are the terms used to describe the person who sexually abuses. Offender may not be suitable in some contexts, such as for children.


Care intended to prevent disease. For this website, this specifically refers to care for other consequences of sexual abuse.


a crime of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with them against the other person's will, esp. by the threat or use of violence against them.


Sexually transmitted diseases (STD), also referred to as sexually transmitted infections (STI) and venereal diseases (VD), are illnesses that have a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex.


Survivor is one of the terms used on the site to describe the person who had been sexually abused.


Victim is another term used to describe the person who had been sexually abused.


The term we're using to pertain to the immediate family or the community of those causing harm or are being harmed.


is the term encompassing pre-teens, teenagers and people up to the age of 21. Under the Children, Young Person’s & Families Act it refers to a person up to the age of 17 years.