Types of child abuse

Find out about the four main types of abuse

Child abuse is where anyone under the age of 18 is harmed or not given the care they need. There are 4 main types of abuse. If any of these things is happening to you, let us know.

Physical abuse

If someone purposely hurts a child or young person this is physical abuse.

This could be, hitting, shaking, burning, drowning or suffocating.

Sexual abuse

If a child or young person is asked or forced to take part in or watch sexual activity, this is sexual abuse.

This can include making a child or young person do sexual things to themselves or other people, showing them sexual material or taking photos or filming them doing sexual things.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when a child or young person is made to feel worthless, wrong, unfairly blamed, bullied or frightened.


Neglect is when a child or young person is not looked after properly. Children need food, shelter, safety, clothing, cleanliness, access to medical treatment and protection from harm.