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What is child abuse?

Child abuse

Child abuse can take place within and outside the home. It can be in the form of physical, emotional, neglect or child sexual abuse. Bullying and witnessing (seeing or hearing) domestic violence are also forms of child abuse. 

A child may be experiencing abuse if he or she is:

  • frequently dirty, hungry or inadequately dressed
  • left in unsafe situations or without medical attention
  • constantly "put down", insulted, sworn at or humiliated
  • seems afraid of parents or carers
  • severely bruised or injured
  • displays sexual behaviour which doesn't seem appropriate for the child’s age
  • growing up in a home where there is domestic violence
  • living with parents or carers involved in serious drug or alcohol abuse/serious mental health problems/learning disability

This list does not cover every aspect of child abuse. You may have seen other things in the child's behaviour or circumstances that worry you. Abuse is always wrong and it is never the young person's fault.