What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when anyone under 18 is being harmed or isn’t being looked after properly. Child abuse can be any of the following.

Physical abuse

This is when someone hurts a child or young person on purpose. Physical abuse can include hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing harm to a child. Another form of physical abuse is fabricating symptoms of illness in a child.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is when a child or young person is forced or enticed to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. There are many ways in which a child can be sexually abused including: making them do sexual things to themselves or with other people, encouraging children to behave sexually or involving children in the production or viewing of pornography.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse can affect the confidence of a child. This includes telling a child that they are unloved, inadequate or worthless, being unfairly blamed, causing a child to frequently feel frightened or in danger or making age inappropriate demands of them. Emotional abuse can make a child feel bad about themselves and can affect how they fit in at school and at home.


Neglect is when a child or young person is not being looked after properly which can impact upon their health and wellbeing. This can involve a failure to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, protection from physical harm and access to medical care or treatment. Neglect also includes not meeting a child’s emotional needs.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above, it is important to get help. Contact us if you are worried or concerned about a child or young person.

Contact us

Child Protection Line
Telephone: 020 8583 6600 and use option 1

Email the early help team or securely csll-socialcare-gcsx@hounslow.gcsx.gov.uk

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