What is child abuse?
Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. We know that neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse.
An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.
We estimate that over half a million children are abused in the UK each year.
Types of child abuse
Child sexual exploitation
Female genital mutilation (FGM)
Bullying and cyberbullying
Harmful sexual behaviour
Are you worried about a child?
Signs, symptoms and effects of child abuse and neglect
What to do if you suspect abuse
Keeping children safe from neglect
Child neglect is preventable - not inevitable. Read our latest reports on child neglect, service evaluations and learn what we're doing to protect children in the UK from child neglect.
Our research helps children like Maisie
Our research and services help prevent abuse and support families. Please help us to help more children like Maisie.