Child abuse

Types of harm

Child abuse refers to significant harm or injury to a child that is not caused by an accident.

It can be caused by:

  • the actions or behaviour of a parent, a person with parental responsibility or a person known to the child
  • a parent's failure to protect a child from being abused or neglected
  • repeated abusive or neglectful events that happen over time.

Harm can be one or more of the following types.

Physical harm 

This refers to physical injuries that are not accidental - or where there is significant risk of injury happening - due to the actions or lack of action of a parent or caregiver.

Sexual harm

This happens when any sexual activity involves a child, or sexual threats are made to a child.

It can include encouraging a child or young person to do, watch, or hear something sexually explicit.

Emotional harm

This happens when the behaviour or attitude of a parent or caregiver towards a child negatively affects (or could affect) the child's social, emotional or developmental growth.

It includes failure to provide for the child's:

  • emotional needs for nurturing and security
  • developmental needs for stimulation and interaction with other people and their environment.

Neglect 

This happens when a child's basic necessities of life are not met by their parent or caregiver.

Exposing a child to violence

This includes when a child is living in a home where family or domestic violence happening.

Copyright

This information was adapted from the Parent Easy Guide series © Parenting SA, Government of South Australia.

Print all pages in this section

Last updated: 28 May 2015

Share:

Was this page useful?

Describe your experience

More feedback options

To provide comments or suggestions about the NT.GOV.AU website, complete our feedback form.

For all other feedback or enquiries, you must contact the relevant government agency.