Abuse can take several forms:
- Physical – when an adult deliberately hurts a child such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.
- Neglect – where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat, not going to the dentist or doctors when they need to and/or being left in dangerous situations.
- Emotional – This would happen, for instance, when a child is all the time being unfairly blamed for everything, or they are told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy. This can also be when a child sees or hears violent arguing or fighting between adults at home.
- Sexual – examples would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or look at sexual pictures, by an adult or older young person.
Effects of abuse
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