Child sexual assault offences are gender-neutral. Child sexual assault offences should be gender-neutral. Any child, regardless of sex or gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, or any other characteristic, can be raped or otherwise sexually assaulted. The definitions of crimes should not exclude any potential victim/survivor.
Some countries still explicitly limit child sexual assaults to girls, for example in ‘defilement’-type offences. This approach is discriminatory on the basis of sex. It is based on, and perpetuates the false myth that only females can be raped or subjected to other sexual assaults. It denies male children protection from abuse while protecting abusers. Child sexual assault laws that are not gender-neutral also violate fundamental rights under many human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which every Commonwealth country is a party.