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Recognising child abuse and neglect

There are four recognised categories of child abuse: Physical Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Neglect and Sexual Abuse.


Physical Abuse When an adult, child or young person deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.


Emotional Abuse This would happen, for instance, when a child is all the time being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.


Neglect Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.


Sexual Abuse An example of sexual abuse would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or in the taking of rude photos.

In addition to these 4 categories of abuse, there are other ways in which a child or young person can suffer harm including:


Bullying E.g. calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyberbullying, hurting, getting people into trouble.


Domestic Abuse is when one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another adult e.g. physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially.

You can find out more information by visiting the following organisations.

Childline - abuse and safety

Bullying UK - advcie for parents / carers

Kidscape - advice for parents /carers

The NSPCC - child abuse and neglect

The NSPCC - The Underwear Rule

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