Types of abuse

There are many different kinds of abuse, and many reasons why people may harm or neglect children.

The signs of abuse can sometimes be difficult to spot, but individuals and communities can play a big part to keep children safe. You can help protect children by keeping your eyes and ears open, by being alert to signs that all is not well, and by acting on any concerns you might have.

If you are worried about a child’s welfare you can call your local council’s social work department or the police on 101.

If you think a child might be in immediate danger you should contact the police right away by dialling 999.


Neglect is when the basic needs of the child are not being met, these include: love, safety, affection, food, warmth and shelter.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is when a child is deliberately hurt or injured by another person.

Sexual abuse

Child sexual abuse is when a child is forced or persuaded into sexual activity.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when a child’s confidence and self-esteem is repeatedly damaged.

Online Abuse

Can takes many forms but can include sexual exploitation, grooming, communicating with children for a sexual purpose, but also includes sexting and cyberbullying.

Sexual Exploitation

A form of child sexual abuse happens through control, coercion, force, enticement and bribery – it never happens through choice.