What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse can mean a lot of different things such as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse – it’s not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But the important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.

If you think you are being abused, it is important to talk someone who you trust. Or you can call and ask to speak to a social worker or call ChildLine.

The four main types of abuse are:

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse is when someone deliberately hurts or injures you. It can include hitting, kicking, hair pulling, beating with objects, throwing and shaking. No one has the right to hurt you in this way.

Emotional Abuse

If someone is always putting you down, shouting at you or making you feel bad about yourself, this is emotional abuse. It’s wrong, even if they are not doing it on purpose. It can make you feel scared, stressed and upset.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is pressurised, forced, tricked or coerced into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with an adult or another young person. This can include kissing, touching the young person’s genitals (private parts) or breasts, intercourse or oral sex. It can happen to anyone – boys and girls. If you are being sexually abused it’s not your fault and you’re not alone.


Neglect is when a child or young person is not being looked after properly.  If your parents or carers are not getting the important things you need, do not protect you from dangerous situations, help you when you are ill or hurt, support you with your education or make it hard for you to care for yourself, this is neglect.

If you want to find out more information, visit the Think U Know website or click on your age below:


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