Emotional abuse is the ongoing emotional maltreatment or emotional neglect of a child. It’s sometimes called psychological abuse and can seriously damage a child’s emotional health and development.

Emotional abuse can involve deliberately trying to scare or humiliate a child or isolating or ignoring them.

Children who are emotionally abused are usually suffering another type of abuse or neglect at the same time – but this isn’t always the case.

Read more about emotional abuse

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Help and advice

Signs, symptoms and effects

Find out more about the signs, symptoms and effects of emotional abuse and emotional neglect.
Spotting signs of emotional abuse

Keeping children safe

How to keep children safe from emotional abuse
Keeping children safe from emotional abuse

Research and resources

Research, reports and resources about emotional abuse
See research and reports for emotional abuse

Children's stories

"Backing me into the corner until I was whimpering and crying, he would just laugh at me and walk away, satisfied by my distress."

Read Fiona's story

What we do about emotional abuse

Services for children, families and professionals

We work face to face with children, young people and families who need our help across the UK.
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ChildLine

ChildLine is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, ChildLine is there for them – by phone, email or live chat.

0800 1111

Contact ChildLine

Have NSPCC Schools Service visit your school

If you work at a primary school in the UK and would like us to deliver an assembly and workshop get in touch.

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You can give a child like Maisie the gift of safety. Your generous donation will ensure that our Letting the Future In service will be there for children who need our help.

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Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
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Specialist and bespoke child protection courses

Training on specialist child protection subjects and courses tailored to your staff's needs.
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Tailored safeguarding and child protection support for any organisation.
Our consultancy service

ChildLine

ChildLine is our free, confidential helpline for children and young people. Whenever children need us, ChildLine is there for them – by phone, email or live chat.

0800 1111

Contact ChildLine

It's time to demand change

Help make sure young people who've suffered abuse get the support they need by supporting our It's Time campaign.

It's time to take action

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You can give a child like Maisie the gift of safety. Your generous donation will ensure that our Letting the Future In service will be there for children who need our help.

Donate now