Child abuse and neglect is when a child is physically, emotionally or sexually harmed. It is also when the health, safety or wellbeing needs of a child are neglected. Child abuse can happen in families of any income, culture or religion. It often happens over a long period of time. The effects of abuse and neglect are serious and can last a lifetime.

There are different forms of child abuse. These include neglect, sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

  • Neglect - Child neglect is the continued failure by a parent or caregiver to provide a child with the basic things needed for his or her proper growth and development, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical and dental care and adequate supervision.
  • Sexual abuse - Sexual abuse is when someone involves a child or young person in a sexual activity by using their power over them or taking advantage of their trust.
  • Physical abuse - Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury or pattern of injuries to a child or young person caused by a parent, caregiver or any other person.
  • Emotional abuse or psychological harm - Serious psychological harm can occur where the behaviour of their parent or caregiver damages the confidence and self esteem of the child or young person, resulting in serious emotional disturbance or psychological trauma.