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Child abuse or maltreatment falls into multiple categories, but are fundamentally categorized into 4 main types: physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect and sexual abuse. All types of abuse and neglect result in situations where the welfare of a child is seriously challenged.


Physical abuse can be termed as deliberate aggressive action on a child. Physical abuse is the most obvious form of abuse on a child that inflicts pain including bruises, burns, scalds, fractures, sore muscles, head or brain injuries, human bites marks, shaking, throwing, history of multiple injuries from both old and new incidence, these includes actions such as punching, kicking, hitting, slapping and even restricting.

It is terrifying to state that physical abuse also involves poisoning, suffocating, as well as, a parent or guardian/carer fabricating or deliberately inducing illness in a child.

Physical abuse can happen anywhere, as well as in settings that are regarded as safe for children like schools, play centres, churches and within the family homes.


Emotional or Psychological abuse is the type of abuse where children go through constant maltreatment and emotional damage causing emotional trauma. It includes making a child feel inferior, worthless or conveying he/she is unvalued and does not deserve to be loved. This also involves expectations that are inappropriate for the age group or limiting a child in social participation and interaction, participation or witnessing domestic violence inducing fear..


The constant absence of a parental or guardian care and support in a child’s life can constitute neglect and abuse due to the damaging effect on a child’s health and wellbeing.

Neglect can occur during pregnancy where a pregnant woman indulges in substance misuse. Moreover, once a child is born, neglecting a child involves

lack of necessary care and attention required for vigorous health and developmental needs. For example, persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical, emotional or psychological needs, such as, food, shelter and failure to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment, which is likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health development (Working Together, 2015).

Lack of inadequate supervision- In some cases, a parent or guardian may be present in the house but they are not truly present with their child, as the child may be neglected while they remain in bed or in a different room from the child for a long period of time. Sexual abuse perpetrates can a man or woman and children.


Sexual abuse occurs when someone forces or entice a child or young person under 18 years of age to take part in a sexual activity, these can be contact and non-contact sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse consists of any type of behaviour towards a child that is intended for the perpetrator’s sexual stimulation such as, intimate touching, fondling, intercourse which includes sexual harassment based on penetrating the child’s vagina or anus by penis, finger or any other object, oral, rape incest, indecent physical exposure of their sexual body part to the child, showing or involving in pornographic materials or act, verbal sexual comments etc. this may be a one-off event or several. Other aspects of sexual abuse involve child trafficking and child sexual exploitation of a child into child prostitution (Working Together, 2015).

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