Twin Cedars’ Ask the Experts: What constitutes child sexual abuse

Dear Expert,

My wife and I would like to talk with our boys about sexual abuse. Please help me understand exactly what is child sexual abuse. Does it only involve touch or are inappropriate pictures of children and teens sexual abuse, too?

Signed,

A Dad who wants to know!

• • •

To answer your question as to what constitutes an act of child sexual abuse, it is important to understand that there are many different forms of child sexual abuse and that definitions vary by law from state to state.

In Georgia, acts that constitute sexual abuse include, but are not limited to, rape, fondling, sexual assault, exposure, voyeurism and the commercial sexual exploitation of children — a sexual act which involves the exchange of goods or services.

A common misconception among the general public is that child porn does not constitute a form of sexual abuse; in fact, child pornography is a highly prosecutable crime in Georgia and a conviction for possession or distribution of child porn will result in sentencing under the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines. Convictions involving sexual crimes against children will also land one a spot on Georgia’s Sex Offender Registry.

Thank you for posing this question and I hope that I have provided helpful information surrounding this public social issue that adversely impacts the community at large. Public awareness is key to preventing child sexual abuse.

For more information regarding child sexual abuse and how to address it with your children, please contact Kim Adams with the Child Advocacy Center of Troup County at kadams@twincedars.org or Mike Angstadt, executive director of Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services Inc. at mangstadt@twincedars.org.

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Twin Cedars staff

Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services may be contacted at 706-298-0050. Anyone who wants to submit a question to be answered in this column may send it to Twin Cedars, Attn: Mike Angstadt, PO Box 1526, LaGrange, GA 30241.