Abuse (and neglect) is a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse a child by inflicting, or by failing to act to prevent, significant harm to the child.

    In a child protection context, there are three key different types of abuse: 

    • Physical abuse is the causing of physical harm to a child or young person. 
    • Emotional abuse is persistent emotional neglect or ill treatment of a child causing severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. 
    • Sexual abuse is any act that involves the child in any activity for the sexual gratification of another whether or not it is claimed that the child either consented or assented.


    National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2014 (refer to part 1)

    Safeguarding Scotland’s vulnerable children from child abuse: A review of the Scottish system 2014

    How Safe Are Our Children? NSPCC Scotland Briefing 2015

    Children’s Experiences of Domestic Violence 2015

    Oral and Dental Aspects of Child Abuse and Neglect 2015

    Child Abuse and Neglect: A resource for primary schools 2013

    Child Abuse and Neglect: A resource for secondary schools 2013

    View more resources relating to Child Abuse in our e-library.

    Useful links

    Scottish Government child protection pages

    StopItNow! Scotland national programme for the prevention of child sexual abuse

    CHILDREN1st sexual abuse campaign

    Scottish Women’s Aid information for children and young people around domestic abuse