01733863744 pscb@peterborough.gov.uk

What is Abuse?

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.

Being mistreated or abused (sometimes called ‘[tooltip text=”Significant Harm is any Physical, Sexual, or Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Accident or Injury that is sufficiently serious to adversely affect progress and enjoyment of life. Harm is defined as the ill treatment or impairment of health and development”]Significant Harm[/tooltip]’) is defined as Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Neglect or Emotional Abuse.

Physical Abuse

When an adult deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.


Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.


E.g. calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyberbullying, hurting, getting people into trouble (See Bullying)

Emotional Abuse

This would happen, for instance, when a child is all the time being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.

Sexual Abuse

An example of sexual abuse would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or in the taking of rude photos.

Domestic Violence

When one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another family member e.g. physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially.

The Underwear Rule

As it can sometimes be very difficult to discuss issues surrounding child abuse, the NSPCC has launched a campaign designed to help parents talk to their children about keeping safe.

More information can be found by visiting the NSPCC website or by downloading one of the guides below: