Child abuse and neglect
abuse; hurt; harm; emotional; neglect; sexual; physical; protective; behaviours;
Child abuse and neglect hurts children and families.
What is child abuse?
- Abuse can be any or all of these:
Emotional abuse (so children feel very frightened and upset)
- Shouting, swearing and screaming at a child often.
- Letting a child see people punching, kicking and bashing each other.
- Treating children in changing ways - good then bad, friendly then unfriendly, caring then not caring. Children get scared and are not sure what to expect.
- Hurting someone or something that the child loves, including a pet, in front of the child.
Physical abuse (abuse of a child's body)
- Punching, kicking, shaking or throwing a baby or child.
- Hitting with a stick or something hard.
- Burning, strangling or stopping a child breathing.
- Touching a child in a sexual way.
- Having sex with a child.
- Asking a child to touch you to do sexual things to you.
- Having sex in front of a child
- Showing a child pornography
Neglect (not taking care of a child)
- Not giving a child food or drinks.
- Not watching to make sure they are safe.
- Not caring for children when they are sick.
- Not giving medicine or visiting the clinic/health centre.
- Not spending time with a child.
- Not making sure they go to school.
- Not keeping them and their clothing clean.
- Not providing them with a clean place to live and sleep.
- Often a person trusted by the child or the family.
- They can be parents, grandparents, defacto or step-partners, friends, older brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, neighbours, teachers, childcare workers, babysitters or leaders in organizations such as sporting clubs and churches.
Effects of child abuse
- Children learn that they can't trust people to keep them safe.
- Their bodies can be damaged, and sometimes the harm lasts for a long time, and some children die.
- Children feel scared and unsafe.
- They may not learn and grow as well as other children.
- They may believe that it is ok for people to hurt others when they are angry.
- They may find it hard to trust others or have close relationships with other people, including sexual relationships.
- They may have problems as adults in running their own home and family.
Sadly, sexual abuse of children is common.
Children are mostly abused by someone they know – even relatives and family friends. Child sexual abuse happens in all cultures and all kinds of families. Girls and boys of all ages are at risk.
There is more to read about this in the NAPCAN pamplet 'Keeping children safe from sexual abuse'
law says in South Australia
Child Abuse Report Line
If you have reasonable grounds to suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call 13 14 78 (24 hours a day, every day) – they will not give your name to the parent/s unless you say they can (you can remain anonymous if you wish).
Call the Parent Helpline if you want to talk about your worries Ph: 1300 364 100
In other States of Australia
Want to read more?
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.