Sexual harm

Sexual harm is any sort of sexual contact, act or behaviour towards another person who does not give consent. Sexual harm is serious and can have long-term effects.

Reporting sexual harm

What sexual harm is

Sexual harm is when someone:

  • touches you sexually when you do not want them to—for example, touching your genitals or breasts
  • makes you touch another person or yourself sexually when you do not want to
  • makes you watch sexual activity or watches you doing sexual things when you do not want to
  • touches you or makes you do something sexual that makes you feel uncomfortable, threatened or scared.

If you have been sexually harmed, it is important to know there are people who want to help you and you do not have to go through this alone.

Getting help for sexual harm

It is best to see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible if you have been sexually harmed. They can make you are physically okay, treat any injuries and give you medication if you need it.

In most areas you can see a sexual abuse assessment and treatment service health professional. If you prefer, you can see your own healthcare provider or go to a hospital.

Find a sexual abuse assessment and treatment service — medsac (external link)

You can contact the police just to ask for advice and to find out what your options are. You do not have to do this straight away and it does not mean you have to make a formal complaint. The police can also put you in touch with people who can help. Their website has information and videos about support services, medical check-ups and what happens when you go to a police station.

What can I do if I have been sexually assaulted? — New Zealand Police (external link)

Safe to talk

Safe to talk offers 24/7 free confidential advice and support. You can contact them online, phone or text.

The Harbour

The Harbour provides information to those affected by sexual abuse or offending, their families and whānau. Jointly developed by SAFE, HELP and Rape Prevention Education.


Find sexual harm support services in your are on the Healthpoint website.

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