Types of Abuse
TYPES OF ABUSE/NEGLECT
Abuse: a form of maltreatment of a child. Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm. They may be abused by an adult or adults or another child or children.
Physical abuse: a form of abuse which may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating or otherwise causing physical harm to a child. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.
Emotional abuse: the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child such as to cause severe and adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person. It may include not giving the child opportunities to express their views, deliberately silencing them or ‘making fun’ of what they say or how they communicate. It may feature age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children. These may include interactions that are beyond a child’s developmental capability as well as overprotection and limitation of exploration and learning, or preventing the child participating in normal social interaction. It may involve seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another. It may involve serious bullying (including cyberbullying), causing children frequently to feel frightened or in danger, or the exploitation or corruption of children. Some level of emotional abuse is involved in all types of maltreatment of a child, although it may occur alone.
Sexual abuse: involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including assault by penetration (for example rape or oral sex) or non-penetrative acts such as masturbation, kissing, rubbing and touching outside of clothing. They may also include non-contact activities, such as involving children in looking at, or in the production of, sexual images, watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways, or grooming a child in preparation for abuse (including via the internet). Sexual abuse is not solely perpetrated by adult males. Women can also commit acts of sexual abuse, as can other children.
Neglect: the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development. Neglect may occur during pregnancy as a result of maternal substance abuse. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to: provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment); protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger; ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate care-givers); or ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment. It may also include neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.
In addition to these types of abuse and neglect, members of staff will also be alert to following specific safeguarding issues:
Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE)
CSE is a type of sexual abuse in which children are sexually exploited for money, power or status. Children or young people may be tricked into believing they are in a loving, consensual relationship. They might be invited to parties and given drugs and alcohol. They may also be groomed online. Some indicators of children being sexually exploited are: going missing for periods of time or regularly coming home late; regularly missing school or education or not taking part in education; appearing with unexplained gifts or new possessions; associating with other young people involved in exploitation; having older boyfriends or girlfriends; suffering from sexually transmitted infections; mood swings or changes in emotional wellbeing; drug and alcohol misuse and displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviour. A child under the age of 13 is not legally capable of consenting to sex (it is statutory rape) or any other type of sexual touching. Sexual activity with a child under 16 is also an offence. It is an offence for a person to have a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old if that person holds a position of trust or authority in relation to the young person. Non consensual sex is rape whatever the age of the victim. If the victim is incapacitated through drink or drugs, or the victim or his or her family has been subject to violence or the threat of it, they cannot be considered to have given true consent and therefore offences may have been committed. Child sexual exploitation is therefore potentially a child protection issue for all children under the age of 18.
Creating and sharing sexual photos and videos of under-18s is illegal. Sharing youth produced sexual imagery, which is commonly known as ‘sexting’ covers the incidents where
- A person under the age of 18 creates and shares sexual imagery of themselves with a peer under the age of 18
- A person under the age of 18 shares sexual imagery created by another person under the age of 18 with a peer under the age of 18 or an adult
- A person under the age of 18 is in possession of sexual imagery created by another person under the age of 18.
When such an incident involving youth produced sexual imagery comes to a member of staff’s attention, this will be shared with the designated safeguarding lead with a view to referring to appropriate agencies following the referral procedures. Further information and advice on youth produced sexual imagery is available in the non-statutory guidance produced by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) ‘Sexting in schools and colleges’.
Peer on peer abuse
Children are capable of abusing their peers. This can take different forms, such as physical abuse (such as hitting, kicking, shaking, biting, hair pulling, or otherwise causing physical harm; violence, particularly pre-planned, forcing other children to use drugs or alcohol, initiation/hazing type violence and rituals), emotional abuse (blackmail or extortion, threats and intimidation) sexual violence and sexual harassment; sexting, sexual abuse (indecent exposure, indecent touching or serious sexual assaults, forcing other children to watch pornography or take part in sexting) and sexual exploitation (encouraging other children to engage in inappropriate sexual behaviour, having an older boyfriend/girlfriend, associating with unknown adults or other sexually exploited children, staying out overnight, photographing or videoing other children performing indecent acts). Although it is more likely that girls will be victims and boys perpetrators, all peer on peer abuse is unacceptable and will be taken seriously. We do not tolerate these or pass them off as “banter”, “just having a laugh” or “part of growing up”.
Sexual violence and sexual harassment between children
Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children. It can occur online and offline (both physically and verbally). It is more likely that girls will be the victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment and more likely it will be perpetrated by boys. Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will find the experience stressful and distressing. This will affect their educational attainment. Staff will share any concerns about or knowledge of such incidents immediately with the DSL with a view to ensuring that support systems are in place for victims (and alleged perpetrators). We take these incidents seriously and ensure that victims are protected, offered appropriate support and every effort is made to ensure their education is not disrupted
So-called ‘honour-based’ violence (HBV)
HBV includes incidents or crimes which have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or the community, including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage, and practices such as breast ironing. Abuse committed in the context of preserving “honour” often involves a wider network of family or community pressure and can include multiple perpetrators. All forms of HBV are abuse (regardless of the motivation) and will be handled and escalated as such. If members of staff have a concern about or knowledge of a child that might be at risk of HBV or who has suffered from HBV, they will share it immediately with the DSL with a view to referring to appropriate agencies.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
FGM is a procedure where the female genital organs are injured or changed and there is no medical reason for this. It is frequently a very traumatic and violent act for the victim and can cause harm in many ways. The practice can cause severe pain and there may be immediate and/or long-term health consequences, including mental health problems, difficulties in childbirth, causing danger to the child and mother; and/or death.
FGM is a deeply embedded social norm, practiced by families for a variety of complex reasons. It is often thought to be essential for a girl to become a proper woman, and to be marriageable. The practice is not required by any religion.
FGM is an unacceptable practice for which there is no justification. It is child abuse and a form of violence against women and girls.
The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 places a duty on specified authorities, including local authorities and childcare, education and other children’s services providers, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism (“the Prevent duty”). Young people can be exposed to extremist influences or prejudiced views, in particular those via the internet and other social media. Schools can help to protect children from extremist and violent views in the same ways that they help to safeguard children from drugs, gang violence or alcohol.
Channel is a programme which focuses on providing support at an early stage to people who are identified as being vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism that uses existing collaboration between local authorities, the police, statutory partners (such as the education sector, social services, children’s and youth services and offender management services) and the local community.
Private fostering is when a child under the age of 16 (under 18 if disabled) is cared for by someone who is not their parent or a 'close relative'. This is a private arrangement made between a parent and a carer, for 28 days or more. Close relatives are defined as step-parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, uncles or aunts (whether of full blood, half blood or by marriage). Great grandparents, great aunts, great uncles and cousins are not regarded as close relatives.