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What is sexual assault?

In New Jersey, sexual assault includes any form of unwanted or involuntary touching or penetration of intimate body parts, by the same or opposite sex. This can include being forced to touch someone else.

“Unwanted or involuntary” means sexual contact without the consent of the victim, including the use of threats, intimidation, coercion, or physical force. It also includes victims who are unable to give consent, because of their age or because they are physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or intoxicated.

Sexual offenders are often someone known to the victim, such as a friend, acquaintance, date, spouse, or family member. The terms “date rape” or “acquaintance rape” are often used to describe this association, but this does not imply a less serious form of sexual assault.