National Safeguarding Unit (NSU) - Safe Activities For Everyone

What is Child Abuse? 

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  • What is child abuse?
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Child abuse is the term used when an adult harms a child or a young person under the age of 18. There are four main kinds of abuse, all of which can cause long term damage to a child.

The types of abuse:

1. Physical abuse

This is when a child is hurt or injured by a child or an adult. Physical abuse includes hitting, kicking, punching and other ways of inflicting pain or injury such as poisoning, drowning or smothering. It also includes giving a child harmful drugs or alcohol.

2. Emotional abuse

This is when adults deny children love or affection, or constantly threaten or humiliate them. Sarcasm, degrading punishments and ignoring a child are also forms of emotional abuse and undermine a child's confidence and sense of self-worth.

3. Neglect

This is when a child's basic need for love, food, warmth, safety, education and medical attention is not met by parents or carers.

4. Sexual abuse

This is when a child is used sexually by an adult or young person. Sexual abuse can include kissing, touching the child's genitals or breasts, vaginal or anal intercourse and oral sex. Encouraging a child to look at pornographic magazines or videos is also sexual abuse.

Bullying, racism and other types of discrimination are forms of child abuse. Like other kinds of abuse they can harm a child physically and emotionally.

You can learn more about child abuse by completing basic awareness training

Remember, child abuse is wrong and should always be stopped.

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