skip navigation

Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is defined as the sexual touching or penetration of children. The definition generally includes attempts as well as completed assaults. There are other forms of illegal or unwanted sexual experiences such as exposure, peeping, or sexual harassment in the form of talking in a sexually inappropriate or intimidating way.


Problems of Estimating the Victimization of Child Sexual Abuse from University of New Hampshire

Legal Considerations

All forms of sexual contact by an adult with a child are illegal regardless of the circumstances, the use of force or threats, or the child's behavior. The law is based on the premise that children are unable to consent to sex with adults.

The law also applies to teenagers who use force to have sex or have sex with children who are significantly younger. The same laws apply to teenage and adult offenders, although the penalties are different. The laws that are specific to children do not require proving that force was used or that there was a lack of consent. The child-specific laws make some distinctions based on age differences between the victim and offender.

Sexual contact by a child under the age of twelve with a younger child can only be prosecuted under very specific circumstances. When the offending child is between the ages of eight and eleven it is possible to prosecute if certain legal requirements are met, but this is rare. Children under eight years of age cannot be prosecuted regardless of the behavior.

Sex Offense Definitions

9A.44.073 Rape of a child in the first degree.
9A.44.076 Rape of a child in the second degree.
9A.44.079 Rape of a child in the third degree.
9A.44.083 Child molestation in the first degree.
9A.44.086 Child molestation in the second degree.
9A.44.089 Child molestation in the third degree.
9A.44.093 Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree.
9A.44.096 Sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree.
9A.44.115 Voyeurism.
9A.44.120 Admissibility of child's statement -- Conditions
9A.44.150 Testimony of child by closed-circuit television.
9A.44.190 Criminal trespass against children -- Definitions.
9A.44.193 Criminal trespass against children -- Covered entities.
9A.44.196 Criminal trespass against children.

9.68A Sexual Exploitation of Children


Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Resources & Reports

Please visit our CSA Prevention Special Editions page



Related Content


Recorded Webinars


Recorded Webinars related to the From Hurt to Hope Child Advocacy Guide



Additional Online Resources

Reviewed: October 10th, 2014