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

Worried about a child?

Contact our trained helpline counsellors for 24/7 help, advice and support.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern

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.
View our services

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

Read about 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.

Donate now

Every call is a chance to stop abuse. Support the NSPCC helpline and help us stop children suffering in silence.

Help give children a voice

Get expert training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Specialist and bespoke child protection courses

Training on specialist child protection subjects and courses tailored to your staff's needs.
More on this

Child protection consultancy

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

Read about Childline

Speak out. Stay safe.

Our programme (formerly Childline Schools Service) uses specially trained staff and volunteers to talk to primary school children about abuse.
Speak Out. Stay Safe.

What you can do

It's Time to demand change

Up to 90% of children who've been abused will develop mental health issues by the time they're 18.

Help us change this

Donate now

Every call is a chance to stop abuse. Support the NSPCC helpline and help us stop children suffering in silence.

Help give children a voice

Call the NSPCC helpline

If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact our professional counsellors 24/7 for help, advice and support.

Call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

0808 800 5000

Report a concern