Effects of child abuse
It’s never too late to help a child. Child abuse and its effects are preventable. We can work together to stop abuse happening and support children who have been abused.
If we work together to stop abuse happening and provide support to children who have been abused, we can turn things around for a child at any stage of their development - so they can go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives.
Child abuse can take many forms. It can be emotional, physical, sexual or neglect. And it can happen to any child, in any family, in any place or online.
Abuse often happens over a period of time, rather than as a one-off event, and can have a devastating effect on a child's development and society as a whole.
- negative effects on a child’s health, relationships and education
- adults who were abused as children may find it harder to cope with life's stresses, get a good job, or be a good parent
- mental health problems, drug or alcohol issues, criminal behaviour – or showing signs of harmful behaviour themselves.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can all play our part in preventing abuse. And we can all help a child who’s experienced abuse to get their life back on track.
"I never thought I'd feel this happy again but with the right support you can carry on with your life."
We are constantly striving to find the best ways to protect children and prevent abuse and share these with people who work with children – find out about our research on our website for professionals, NSPCC Learning.
Abuse can be prevented – and each of us can play a role in the fight against it. Any act, big or small, can make a real difference to a child and create a safer society for all children.
Whether you support one of our campaigns, volunteer for our services, take part in an event to raise funds or simply be aware of the signs that a child may need help, your contribution will help us be there for more children in need.
That's not to say difficult circumstances inevitably lead to abuse, or that abuse can ever be excused. But these circumstances do make it more likely to happen. By giving families the right support at the right time – from counselling or good foster care to a helping hand from a neighbour – we can help them manage these problems and give a child a more stable platform to grow up.
More about child abuse
Find out about the support available to adults who were abused as children.
Spotting the signs of abuse
We can help you to recognise the signs of child abuse, so that if you see them, you can share your concerns with us.
Alice feels like she lost her childhood to abuse, it affected many areas of her life. We helped her go to court so that she could move on.
Work or volunteer with children and families?
Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you respond to child abuse and neglect and protect children and young people across the UK.
Children's mental health
Get advice on recognising and giving support for mental health problems in children and young people.
Healthy sexual behaviour
Learn more about what healthy sexual behaviour looks like for children and young people, and when there could be signs that something is not right.
Talk PANTS with your child
Help your child keep themselves safe by teaching them the PANTS rules, with some help from our friendly dinosaur, Pantosaurus. They're especially designed for children aged 4-8.