What is child abuse?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.”

Child abuse is as any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child NSPCC

The four categories of abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. We know that neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse.

Child abuse is categorised in the following ways:

Sexual Abuse Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware.

Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs. It’s dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.

Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.

Emotional abuse may include neglect or lack of emotional warmth. Children who live in homes with domestic violence can suffer from emotional abuse. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can cause children serious harm.

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