Categories of Abuse
Aims of the Session
- To gain awareness of the categories of
- To gain understanding of the definitions of each category of abuse.
- To introduce students to critical thinking in regards to identifying indicators of abuse.
By the end of the session students will be able to:
- Define the different categories of abuse.
- Be able to identify the category of abuse for given scenarios
What Is Abuse?
Think about how you would define Abuse
Definition of Abuse
- A form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children.
- (Definition provided by Working Together)
- Safeguarding is a term which is broader than ‘child protection’
- It relates to the action taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.
- Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility.
- Safeguarding is defined in Working together to safeguard children 2013 as:
protecting children from maltreatment
preventing impairment of children’s health and development
ensuring that children grow up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective care and
taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes
In groups can you identify the different (main) categories of abuse?
What examples can you give for each category?
A form of abuse which may involve;
hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child.
Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, injury or illness in a child.
The persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development.
May involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person.
It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or “making fun” of what they say or how they communicate.
It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children.
Emotional Abuse cont.
These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability, as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning.
Or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction.
It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another.
It may involve serious bullying (including cyber bullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, though it may occur alone.
Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take
part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high
level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what
The activities may involve physical contact,
including assault by penetration (for example, rape or oral
or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing,
rubbing and touching outside of clothing.
They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways
or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet).
Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.
Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse.
Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to:
- provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment);
- protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger;
- ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment
It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
Neglect and the brain development:
How safe are our children? NSPCC (2015)
The most comprehensive overview of child protection in the UK
- Child protection data for 2015 that exists across the 4 nations in the UK.
- The report sets out 20 different indicators. Each indicator looks at the question of 'how safe are our children?' from a different perspective.
- Also includes historic data, to help track progress over time
- More support is needed for the victims of abuse
Rise in the number of people coming forward about their experiences of abuse. Support must match this increased willingness to speak out.
- We must not lose sight of neglect
While child sexual exploitation is dominating the media, it’s important to remember that neglect remains the most common form of child abuse across the UK. We need to continue to gather evidence into what works in tackling neglect.
- Early intervention is key
We need to intervene early to address problems before they become more serious and entrenched. By intervening early we can protect children more effectively and save money.
- All 4 countries in the UK have seen the number of recorded sexual offences against children increase over the last year.
- There’s been an increase in contacts to the NSPCC helpline and ChildLine about sexual abuse.
- Neglect remains the most common form of child abuse in the UK.
- The number of children dying as a result of homicide or assault remains in long term decline
- The number of children who were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March continues to follow the upward trend of recent years
- 49,700 children were the subject of a child protection plan at 31 March 2015, compared with 39,100 six years ago when the children in need census began.
- The numbers starting and ending a child protecting plan in the year both continue to increase.
So, does this mean child abuse on the rise?
- There are a number of reasons why the amount of abuse being reported may increase:
- Improved training will lead to professionals being better at recognising the signs of abuse
- Increased awareness amongst the public will mean they recognise the signs of abuse; they understand that they can play a role in protecting children and they know how to report their concerns
- Increased awareness work with children and young people will encourage them to tell someone about what is happening to them
- A high profile child abuse case in the media often leads to increased referrals and the authorities being more likely to intervene where there are concerns
- An increase in the child population may lead to an increase in abuse being identified and reported, simply because there are more children.
- Comparing the rates of children who are affected by abuse (so the number per 10,000 children) allows us to say whether the proportion of children identified is increasing or decreasing.
- Official statistics might also show a decrease in the amount of abuse being recorded. This might be due to:
- Changes in what is recorded, or the way things are recorded (this includes changes in thresholds because of pressure on resources)
- Changes in the way abuse is responded to, such as agencies intervening at an earlier stage before concerns become more serious (early intervention).
What kind of abuse is this?
- A child attended A&E for examination aged 2 because mum dropped her while drunk
- Home visit to a family, 2 children, 3 year old sat next to mum being good but quiet, baby on mums knee. Mum goes on at length about what a good baby she has then turns to the 3 year old and tells you how evil and bad he is. 3 year then starts to swear and misbehave
- Child born with PKU mum fails to keep to his diet, blood results always off the scale
- 3 year old at nursery sat listening to story, plays with penis
- 2 week old baby attends A&E with torn frenulum
- Parents speeding away from the police in a car with children inside, on stopping drunks found in car.
Parents shout and argue, some physical abuse to mother. Dad comes home drunk every night, 4 year old always in bed
3 year old child in nursery observed in wendy house with another boy putting his penis in his mouth
3 year old child smacked on bottom but did not leave a mark
3 year old child informs you that his daddy hits his mummy.
- Shouting in an aggressive manner in a shop to a child aged 9 years.
- Child 7 year old left home alone with a 2 year old sibling
- Parents drunk and using drugs via a syringe in charge of children in their own home.
- Parents not attending health appointments for a child with complex health needs.
- Wigan Safeguarding Children Board Bruising Policy:
- Latest Guidance:
- Thresholds of Need:
- NSPCC (2015) How safe are our children? https:// birthday.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/research-reports/how-safe-children-2015-report.pdf
- Beckett, C (2003) Child protection: An introduction. London: Sage
- Browne, K (2002) Child abuse: defining, understanding & intervening in Wilson, K & James, A (2007) (eds) The Child Protection Handbook. (3rd ed) London: Balliere Tindall
- Lawrence, A (2004) Principles of Child Protection: Management & Practice Berkshire: Open University Press
- Lyon, C (2003) Child Abuse Bristol: Family Law
- HM Government (2013) Working Together to Safeguard Children - A guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. London: HM Government Press.
- White, R., Carr, P., Lowe, N (2002) The Children Act in Practice. (3rd Ed) London: Butterworths