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Child abuse

Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. Neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse.

Types of child abuse:

Domestic abuse
Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships. 

Sexual abuse
A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact, and it can happen online.

Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. It's dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.

Online abuse
Online abuse is any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. 

Physical abuse
Physical abuse is deliberately hurting a child causing injuries such as bruises, broken bones, burns or cuts.

Emotional abuse
Children who are emotionally abused suffer emotional maltreatment or neglect. It's sometimes called psychological abuse and can cause children serious harm.

Child sexual exploitation
Child sexual exploitation is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status.

Female genital mutilation (FGM)
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for non-medical reasons. 

Bullying and cyberbullying
Bullying can happen anywhere – at school, at home or online. It’s usually repeated over a long period of time and can hurt a child both physically and emotionally.

Child trafficking
Child trafficking is a type of abuse where children are recruited, moved or transported and then exploited, forced to work or sold. 

Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know - this could be a family member, 'friend' or professional. 

Harmful sexual behaviour
Children and young people who develop harmful sexual behaviours, harm themselves and others.

If you think you or a friend is being hurt or abused, you should talk to an adult you trust.

You can also call ChildLine on 0800 1111, they are available to call 24 hours a day or you can chat online or by email. They have a video that shows you what happens when you contact them and lots of ideas and information about keeping safe.

If you are worried about a child abuse issue, go to our Local Safeguarding Children Board website.


Safety tips

Our best advice

Online Safety

The internet is a great way to connect with your friends and learn ; but it's also important to stay safe.


Bullying affects lots of young people and is repeated behaviour intended to hurt either emotionally or physically

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is any type of controlling, bullying, threatening or violent behaviour between people in a relationship

Help with Staying Safe

There is a lot of advice and help for young people about staying safe online

Child Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is very harmful to young people and affects every part of their health, happiness and development

Talk Pants

The Underwear Rule helps keep you safe from abuse

Home alone

How to decide if your child is ready to be left at home alone

Child abuse

Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – causing significant harm to a child

Gangs and Young People

Children and young people involved with gangs may be victims of violence

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