Emotional abuse is when a child’s confidence and self-esteem is repeatedly damaged.
Examples of emotional abuse can include humiliation, being ignored, made to feel worthless, or being exposed to situations that can cause fear and distress.
Emotional abuse can happen on its own but it’s always present alongside other forms abuse. Signs of emotional abuse can be hard to spot but it’s every bit as damaging as other forms of abuse.
Children and young people who are being emotionally abused might appear afraid of someone or be worried that they might displease them in some way. They may lack confidence and talk about themselves in a negative way. Others may appear unemotional and seem quiet and withdrawn.
A child experiencing emotional abuse might find it difficult to manage their own emotions, becoming angry or upset easily and then having difficulty calming down. They may also find it difficult to make friendships or keep them going and struggle to trust adults in their lives.
Emotional abuse can have very serious consequences for a child’s development, it’s always better to say something than do nothing – see our Get Help section for sources of help and advice.