|Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.
Abuse (also called significant harm) can happen to a child at any age. Abusers can be adults but not just parents or carers, abuse often occurs within a relationship of trust e.g. a teacher, carer, family friend or youth leader.
|If you are worried or unsure that a child may be suffering, or have suffered harm, neglect or abuse, please contact
Hants Direct on 0300 300 0117
There are four main types of child abuse:
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces illness in a child. Physical abuse in sport may be when a child is forced into training and competition which exceeds the capacity of his or her immature and growing body; or where the child is given drugs to enhance performance or delay puberty.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, including prostitution, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of sexual online images, watching sexual activities, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved. Age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. Not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or making fun of what they have to say or how they communicate. It may also involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another, serious bullying or the exploitation of a child.
Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child's basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child's health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment)
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers)
- ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.