Alex's Answer

What counts as sexual assault

Your Question

i dont know whether ive been sexuallly assaulted and i dont know what counts/doesnt count. can you help me out? (a list or simple explanation would help!) 


Hi there, 

Thank you for reaching out to Ask Alex; we are always here if you need support. You have asked us to help you with knowing if you have been sexually assaulted and what counts as sexual assault. We are very sorry to hear that you have experienced this. It is not ok that you have experienced an event like this and you have very brave to reach out.  

“Sexual violence is any sexual act which takes places without freely given consent or where someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity. The age of consent in Ireland, is 17 years and this is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts.” This definition is from Túsla, which is The Child and Family Agency in Ireland. More information can be found here

The definition is broad as there are many different types of sexual assault. And many can have lasting impacts on the survivors. Which is why it is important to seek support. So thank you again, for reaching out. to us. 

Seeking medical attention is crucial after experiencing sexual assault. Even if there are no visible injuries, it’s essential to ensure one’s physical health. A healthcare provider can address any concerns, provide necessary treatment, and discuss options for preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They can also document any injuries, which may be valuable if legal action is pursued in the future.

We wonder if you have a trusted adult to speak to about this? Maybe a parent, teacher or sports coach. Could you tell them about what has happened? They can then help support you and guide you to the next steps to take. We feel it is important, as this is a big burden for you to carry on your own. If you can let an adult know, they can help you through this.  

It’s important to remember that sexual assault is never the survivor’s fault. It can be difficult to process such a traumatic experience, but reaching out for support is an important step towards healing. Trusted friends, family members, or professionals, such as counsellors or support groups like and, can offer emotional support and guidance.

Additionally, if you feel you are not ready to talk to somebody you know just yet, you can always contact us at Childline. You can use our free phone-service at1800 66 66 66, and there will be an adult here to listen to you in a safe space and help explore your options with you.

At Childline we are focused on you and what is important to you. You can also contact Childline for a human webchat, by clicking on thepurple Messenger circle Both services are open 24-hours a day, every day, and are confidential, non-judgmental and anonymous.

Take care of yourself, and please reach out for that extra support very soon,


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