Child Abuse Defined: Simply Stated
Child Abuse Simply Stated
Simply stated, Child abuse is the bad treatment of a child under the age of 18 by a parent, caretaker, someone living in their home or someone who works with or around children. Abuse of a child is anything that causes injury or puts the child in danger of physical injury. Child abuse can be physical (such as burns or broken bones), sexual (such as touching of private parts or incest), or emotional (such as belittling or calling the child names). Neglect happens when a parent or responsible caretaker fails to provide adequate supervision, food, clothing, shelter or other basics for a child.
Child abuse is any action (or lack of) which endangers or impairs a child’s physical, mental or emotional health and development. Child abuse occurs in different ways. All forms of abuse and neglect are harmful to the child.
Child abuse may be:
- Physical - hitting, shaking, burns, human bites, strangulation.
- Emotional - constant disapproval, belittling, constant teasing.
- Sexual - fondling, the showing of private parts by an adult, sexual intercourse, oral and anal sex, forcing a child to watch while others have sexual intercourse, incest, pornography.
- Neglect - absence of adequate food, shelter, emotional and physical security, and medical care.
Physical abuse is any physical injury to a child that is not accidental.
Emotional and psychological abuse is when a child is not nurtured and is not provided with love and security.
Psychological abuse occurs when children are not provided with the necessary environment to develop mentally and/or emotionally.
Sexual abuse is when the child is involved in any sexual activity with an adult or another child who is either older or more powerful.
Neglect is depriving a child of their basic needs. These include food, clothing, warmth and shelter, emotional and physical security and protection, medical and dental care, cleanliness, education, and supervision.
If you suspect that a child you know or you are someone who is experiencing any of these types of abuse, please check out our more detailed definitions and indicators.
You might also call your local child abuse information or reporting number found in your telephone book or through your telephone information service. For those living within the United States, our website provides you with information to report child abuse in each state.