Categories of concern about a young person’s welfare
The definitions below are brief and reproduced from the government guidance ‘What to do if…’ (DoH 2004)
Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child, including by fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, ill health to a child.
Emotional abuse is the persistent emotional ill treatment of a child such as to cause severe and persistent adverse effects on the child’s emotional development. It may involve conveying to children that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate, or valued only insofar as they meet the needs of another person, age or developmentally inappropriate expectations being imposed on children, causing children frequently to feel frightened, or the exploitation or corruption of children.
Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts. They may include involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.
Neglect is 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, such as failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, or neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.” (DoH, 2004: 3)
Bullying is the persistent, intentional harming of another person within an unequal power relationship. The types of bullying fall into a number of categories:
- VERBAL - threatening or intimidating behaviour with consequences, spreading rumours, excluding, calling names, teasing, making sexual, racial, sectarian remarks, picking on physical appearance
- PHYSICAL - kicking, punching, hitting, spitting, biting, tripping
- EMOTIONAL - “sending to Coventry”, talking behind backs, staring out, writing nasty notes/letters/graffiti
- NON-VERBAL - getting people into trouble, leaving out of games, writing letters/text messages or through internet chat rooms (NSPCC Inform)