There are four different types of child abuse:
Child abuse can be a single incident, or can be a number of different incidents that take place over time.
Under the Child Protection Act 1999, it does not matter how much a child is harmed, but whether a child:
Harm is defined as any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child's physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing (section 9 of the Child Protection Act 1999). For harm to be significant, the detrimental effect on a child's wellbeing must be substantial or serious, more than transitory and must be demonstrable in the child's presentation, functioning or behaviour.
Physical abuse occurs when a child has suffered, or is at risk of suffering, non-accidental physical trauma or injury. Physical abuse can include:
Physical abuse does not always leave visible marks or injuries. It is not how bad the mark or injury is, but rather the act itself that causes injury or trauma to the child.
Sexual abuse occurs when an adult, stronger child or adolescent uses their power or authority to involve a child in sexual activity.
Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and can include:
For more information about child sexual abuse and to download a copy of the booklet Child sexual abuse – Things you need to know.
Emotional abuse occurs when a child's social, emotional, cognitive or intellectual development is impaired or threatened. It can include emotional deprivation due to persistent:
Neglect occurs when a child's basic necessities of life are not met, and their health and development are affected. Basic needs include:
Child abuse is the mistreatment by an adult of a child or young person that harms or endangers that child or young person's physical or emotional health, development or wellbeing.
Factors that contribute to the likelihood of harm, or risk of harm, to children and young people.
How harm experienced in childhood can have significant and lasting effects.
Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult, adolescent or child use their power or authority to involve a child in sexual activity.