Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting, or by failing to act to prevent, significant harm to the child. Children may be abused in a family or in an institutional setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by a stranger. Assessments will need to consider whether abuse has occurred or is likely to occur.
While it is not necessary to identify a specific category of abuse when adding a child’s name to the Child Protection Register it is still helpful to consider and understand the different ways in which children can be abused. The following definitions show some of the ways in which abuse may be experienced by a child but are not exhaustive, as the individual circumstances of abuse will vary from child to child.
Abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. It may be acute or involve a long-term pattern of physical neglect, and often children are abused in more than one way.
Indicators of risk
The following definitions have been taken from the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland 2010 (Scottish Government 2010)
Note: For clarity – where the term ‘parent’ or any derivative is used we will apply this to include any person who has carer responsibilities for the child who is considered as being at risk.