What is the legal definition of sexual abuse?
For the purpose of getting a sexual abuse protective order, sexual abuse is defined as any “sexual contact” with a person:
- who does not consent to it; or
- who is incapable (unable) to consent to the sexual contact because the victim is:
- under 18 years of age;
- “incapable of appraising the nature of the person’s conduct,” which the law defines as:
- being unable to understand the nature of the conduct;
- being unable to understand the right to choose whether and how to engage in conduct, including the right to withdraw one’s prior consent to the conduct; or
- being unable to communicate one’s decision to engage in conduct;
- mentally incapacitated, which the law defines as being unable to evaluate or control his/her own conduct; or
- physically helpless, which the law defines as being unconscious or unable to communicate his/her unwillingness to the sexual act.1
Sexual contact is when anyone touches your sexual or intimate parts or causes you to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of either person.2 In addition to “touching” one’s sexual or intimate parts, it would also include sexual assault, rape, sodomy, and forced oral sex.
Note: There could be some defenses to an accusation of sexual abuse related to the difference in age between the victim and due to other circumstances.3 You can read about these defenses here and here on our Selected Oregon Statutes page.
1 ORS §§ 163.760(2); 163.315(1), (3); 163.305(2), (4)
2 ORS §§ 163.760(3); 163.305(5)
3 ORS §163.760(2)(b)