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What is Incest?


Incest is defined as sexual conduct that occurs between members of the same family, or close relatives. This can be sexual conduct that occurs between people who are related by blood, or through marriage, adoption, or some other form of family lineage.  Incest is wrong in most, if not all cultures around the world. Historically the primary reason incestual relationships were considered wrong was due to concerns of “inbreeding”.  However, today most of the world considers this conduct not only to be morally wrong, but also criminal.  And in most states, laws exist that also prevent certain related individuals from marrying as well.


Some examples would include:


  1. Sexual relations between siblings, mothers and their sons, fathers, and their daughters, and amongst cousins.

  2. Sexual relations between stepfathers and their stepdaughters and stepmothers and their stepsons, and sexual relations between stepsiblings.

  3. Sexual relations between aunts and their nephews or uncles and their nieces.

  4. The same relationships are also considered incestual, even if the sexual relations are conducted between same-sex relatives.


Unfortunately, incestual relationships represent among the highest number of child sexual abuse cases that occur.  For this reason, children who are victims are often not supported by the family once a disclosure is made.  Also, it is often the case that the offenders never displayed any prior indications that they had the “propensity” for sexually abusing a child or a relative. However, if there is a member of your family who has been previously accused of sexual abuse, that person is of a substantially higher risk of reoffending with another child, if they “got away with it” the first time. Remember that most children who make sexual abuse allegations are telling the truth!


If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced this type of abuse, please contact your local CPS and Law Enforcement today.  


Or contact the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453).


It is typically mandatory under the law in any state, that these things be immediately reported to law enforcement once a disclosure of sexual abuse is made by any person.  Failure to do so and act protectively for a child may be a crime depending on the circumstances.  Even if you or someone else was the victim of sexual abuse as a child, and the victim is an adult today, you should still report it to the authorities.

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