What is Child Abuse?
Abuse (sometimes known as 'significant harm') is about being mistreated, harmed or abused in some way. Abuse can happen in a number of different ways and is defined in guidance as physical, emotional, neglect or sexual abuse.
Different types of abuse are described below:
When an adult deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
This would happen, for instance, when a child is all the time being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.
Where a child or young person is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.
An example of sexual abuse would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or in the taking of rude photos.
E.g. calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyber-bullying, hurting, getting people into trouble. See the young person’s page on bullying here
When one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another member of the family e.g. physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially. See the young person's page on domestic abuse here.
Whichever way the abuse has happened it is WRONG and it is not the child’s fault. Adults who work with children will want to make it stop.
Abuse happens to all sorts of children – boys and girls, whether they live in a big city or a small village, whether they are black or white and whatever their culture or religion. It can happen to a baby or someone up to 18 years. They may be doing well at school or have special learning needs. They may have a disability.
Abuse is never the fault of the child.
The person who abuses may be a member of the family, a friend, a stranger, or someone who works with children.
If you feel that you are being abused tell someone you trust. This could be a friend, relative, teacher, etc. It is not easy to do this and you might feel embarrassed or scared, or worried that you or someone else might get into trouble. But remember that it is always right to tell someone if you are being abused.