Types Of Child Abuse

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Types of abuse

Child abuse is categorised into different types. The types are:

  • Physical abuse – Physical abuse is physically abusing the child and giving them non accidental injuries as shown below in the picture. Physical abuse can involve hitting, shaking, throwing, burning, suffocating the child or any other type of out of control punishment. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer produces the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
  • Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse is having sex with children under the age of consent (16 in the UK). This could involve forcing a child to take part in a sexual activity; it may not involve a high level of violence as the child may be unaware of what is happening to them this is classed as rape. This is physical contact which can be assault by penetration e.g. rape or oral sex or assault by non penetrative acts such as kissing, masturbation or rubbing. There are also non-contact activities such as: involving children to witness or produce sexual images or do sexual activities, encouraging a child to behave in inappropriate ways, or grooming the child in preparation for abuse and use of sexually explicit language. Both males and females can commit acts of sexual abuse.
  • Emotional abuse – Emotional abuse constantly emotionally mistreating a child to the result of causing severe adverse effects on the child's emotional development. This can involve making the children feel unloved and worthless. It can involve always ridiculing the child by making fun of them and calling them names which leads to the child not expressing their feelings. It can also involve serious bullying which will cause the child to always feel as if they are in danger and frightened, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child but it can happen alone.
  • Neglect - Neglect is the persistent failure to meet a child’s physical or psychological needs, which can then lead to serious effects in the child's health or development. Neglect can involve: not providing adequate food for the child, not keeping the child clean or washing their clothes, not protecting the child from physical and emotional harm or danger and not ensuring the child has access to medical care or treatment.
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Physical abuse

Emotional abuse

Sexual abuse



  1. BTEC National Children’s Care Learning & Development Book.