Types of Child Abuse 

By definition, child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It 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.

You can find out more information about child abuse, child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, honor based abuse, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, online abuse

An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.

Children who have been abused or neglected may experience physical or emotional harm, which can impact the child either in the short term and/or long term. Long term effects of abuse and neglect may include:

  • emotional difficulties such as anger, anxiety, sadness or low self-esteem
  • mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self harm, suicidal thoughts
  • problems with drugs or alcohol
  • disturbing thoughts, emotions and memories that cause distress or confusion
  • poor physical health such as obesity, aches and pains
  • struggling with parenting or relationships
  • worrying that their abuser is still a threat to themselves or others
  • learning difficulties, lower educational attainment, difficulties in communicating
  • behavioural problems including anti-social behaviour, criminal behaviour.