Physical injury (where a child or young person has been hit, kicked, or punched)

Physical neglect (where a child/young person is not being properly fed or clothed, has poor hygiene or is being left alone)

Sexual abuse (where adults have engaged in inappropriate sexual behaviour or language, indecent assault or sexual intercourse with a child. This can include being filmed or made to watch adult films of a sexual nature)

Emotional abuse (this occurs when a child or young person is constantly criticised, ignored or humiliated. They may also be exposed to family violence)

In addition to the areas of concern highlighted above, it is important to remember that children and young people can also be subjected to abuse or experience harm in the following ways;

  • Child exploitation, this can take the form of sexual exploitation (being forced or coerced to perform sexual acts) or exploitation of labour (being coerced to work for the financial benefit of others).  This can also include the child trafficking where children and young people may be moved away from where they usually live for the purposes of exploitation.
  • By witnessing domestic abuse or violence; this can have a significant emotional impact on children and young people and also brings the risk of physical harm if children become involved when adults are fighting.
  • Young people in relationships may also experience abuse within these relationships similar to domestic abuse - this can involve calling a partner names or putting them down, isolating a partner from their friends, physically assaulting and bullying them, insisting they wear certain clothing and other behaviours which restrict a partners ability to make their own choices.
  • Self-harming is a significant concern in respect of children and young people and may be an indicator of emotional ill health or other serious problems; help is available for these issues and it is important that children and young people get help as soon as possible.
  • Bullying and exploitation via social media is also becoming a significant area of concern; again help and advice is available in respect of this issue.  Many social media sites have a reporting policy which can assist in preventing on line abuse and the Police now take concerns in this respect very seriously.

It is important to be aware of the above areas of concern, however if you have any concerns about a child or young person, please ask for advice.

The right help at the right time can make all the difference.