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 Emotional abuse


Emotional abuse occurs when an adult harms a child’s development by repeatedly treating and speaking to a child in ways that damage the child’s ability to feel and express their feelings. Some examples are:

  • constantly putting a child down
  • humiliating or shaming a child
  • not showing love, support or guidance
  • continually ignoring or rejecting the child
  • exposing the child to family and domestic violence
  • threatening abuse or bullying a child
  • threats to harm loved ones, property or pets.

Possible signs of emotional abuse include when a child:

  • is very shy, fearful or afraid of doing something wrong
  • displays extremes of behaviour for example from being very aggressive to very passive
  • is not able to feel joy or happiness
  • is often anxious or distressed
  • feels worthless about life and themselves
  • has delayed emotional development.

What to do... when you are concerned that a child is being abused or neglected A3 poster

How do I recognise when a child is at risk of abuse or neglect?
Outlines the five main types of child abuse and neglect.

Identifying and responding to child abuse and neglect
A guide for professionals.

What does it mean?
A guide for families and carers about how the Department for Child Protection helps keep children safe.

Protecting children
Information for parents, families and friends. 

Keeping our kids safe

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