Child abuse can include:
- emotional abuse, including constant criticism, put downs, name calling, emotional manipulation, or behaviour that makes the child feel scared at home, one parent using a child as a tool against another parent, exposing a child to violence and abuse against others or animals, knowingly exposing a child to significantly frightening or criminal behaviours
- physical harm, including hitting or excessive discipline, knowingly letting or inciting others to physically harm a child
- neglect (physical or emotional) – not providing for a child’s basic needs for love and safety, such as failing to ensure a child gets medical care, leaving a child alone unsupervised, knowingly exposing a child to unsafe people
- sexual abuse of any kind, including inappropriate touching, exposure to inappropriate material or behaviour, or adults initiating sexual conversations with children.
Child abuse is more common than you may think. It happens a lot in New Zealand. It affects children from every type of home, family, religion, race and culture.
Most child abuse occurs within the family environment but it can happen anywhere – at school, in the larger community (such as sports clubs) or online. A child can experience more than one form of abuse at a time.
Abuse often goes undetected and unreported.