What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when someone harms a child on purpose. It may be:

  • Physical abuse - can be when a child is punched, slapped, thrown, bitten, burnt, beaten with a stick. It even includes bullying by other children or adults
  • Neglect - when a child is left alone, not given enough to eat, not taken to the doctors etc.
  • Emotional abuse - when people carry on behaving in a nasty way towards a child e.g. like being called names or told they’re fat or stupid.
  • Sexual abuse -  when someone touches a child’s private parts which makes a child feel unhappy, uncomfortable or worried, or someone asks a child to touch their private parts, shows them rude pictures, videos or computer games, or has sex with them.

However 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. For more information on who you can talk to in confidence please click here.

(Thanks to Derbyshire LSCB for this advice)