What is child abuse and neglect?

What is child abuse and neglect?

When people talk about child abuse they usually mean one or more of four things is being done to the child:

Physical abuse – sometimes you might be physically hurt by an adult (like being beaten, punched, kicked, slapped, scalded with hot water or punished in other ways that cause physical harm). If it wasn’t an accident that can only mean that you are being abused. Child abuse means that a person is deliberately being cruel or violent towards you.

Sexual abuse – sometimes someone might touch you in ways you do not like. No one has the right to touch you in a bad way; or force you to touch them or other people. Some adults do some very bad things to children like trying to use them for sex. These people are sometimes called “paedophiles”. You should always tell someone if another person is trying to get you involved in anything of a sexual nature. This might also include things which do not involve touching (like involving you in looking at or making sexual images, watching sexual activity or encouraging you to act in sexually inappropriate ways). Sexual abuse is not just done by men. Women can also carry out sexual abuse, as can other children.

Abuse outside of the family -

Emotional abuse – sometimes adults may persistently say or do cruel things intended to upset you (like putting you down all the time or making you feel worthless; or left out). Or you might see or hear the ill-treatment of others. This could leave you feeling very unhappy and not cared for. This is emotional abuse.

Neglect - when people talk about neglect they mean when a child is not getting the things they need – like somewhere safe and warm to live; somewhere to learn and develop; somewhere you will be cared for when you are not feeling well; somewhere you will get enough to eat; somewhere you will be properly looked after; and, not be ignored. Neglect often happens when children are left to care for themselves or care for others such as brothers and sisters all the time. (Taken from Young Person’s Guide to Keeping Children Safe by the Office of Children’s Rights Director found at Young Person’s Guide to Keeping Children Safe (childrenscommissioner.gov.uk)