Definitions and signs of child abuse

Last updated: 04 Sep 2018 Topics: Safeguarding and child protection

Child abuse happens when a person – adult or child – harms a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can also involve a lack of love, care and attention. Children who suffer abuse may struggle to find the words to speak out, so it’s vital that anyone working with children or young people is vigilant for the signs of abuse.

This factsheet sets out the different types of abuse and describes potential signs that a child is being abused. 

> For more information on child abuse see Child abuse and neglect