Child abuse is when an adult causes emotional, sexual or physical harm to a child, or when a child’s basic needs are neglected.
Family and domestic violence occurs in all ethnic and cultural groups in our community, in all kinds of relationships and families, and touches people of all ages and abilities.
Neglect is when a child’s essential needs are not met. A child suffering neglect may not be receiving sufficient love, food, hygiene, education, health care, access to friends and access to culture and community.
Child sexual abuse is when a child is forced or coerced to be a part of sexual acts, or to witness them. Usually sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone in a position of power or authority over the child including an adult or an older child. Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual abuse.
Bullying is repeated behaviour to hurt someone else. The bully might be an individual or a group of people misusing their power to put someone else down. Bullying can happen in school, at home, in a workplace or in community groups like sporting clubs. More and more bullying is happening online as well, which is called cyberbullying.
Many children suffer grazes, bruises and other injuries as a result of bumping into things or falling over. Physical abuse is a non-accidental injury caused to a child.
Emotional abuse, also known as psychological abuse, is the most common type of child abuse. Emotional child abuse is when an adult deliberately and repeatedly causes a child emotional distress.
Online abuse can include online child sexual abuse and cyberbullying. Children or young people might be persuaded or forced to provide sexually explicit photos. They might be coerced into participating in sexual activities or conversations via webcam, voice or text.
Child sexual exploitation is a form of child abuse which involves children being forced or manipulated by an adult or older adolescent into sexual activity for something – money, gifts, drugs, alcohol, affection, status or love. Grooming can be made up of a range of behaviours which are not necessarily sexual act or acts of abuse.
Children develop sexualised behaviours as they grow. Sexual curiosity, exploration and experimentation are normal stages of child development. Looking, touching, exploring and talking about their bodies and sex is normal. There are some behaviours which can be problematic or even harmful to others.