The 4 Main Categories of Child Abuse You Should Know About


Child abuse is a heinous crime that can have both a devastating and lasting impact on survivors. The trauma experienced as a result of these categories of child abuse can persist long into adulthood, with many survivors needing therapy to process what happened to them.

There are several categories of child abuse; understanding these categories might help you to recognise the abuse you received as a youth or recognise when another child is experiencing it.

If you have any questions about the categories of child abuse or wish to make a claim for historic child abuse or on behalf of another child, please get in touch by phone at 0151 242 5111 or by email at

What Are the 4 Main Categories of Child Abuse?

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when an adult causes deliberate harm to a child. Physical abuse involves hitting, kicking, punching, pinching, slapping or any other type of act to cause bodily injury to a child. Unlike other categories of child abuse, physical abuse can be easier to detect in children. All children are prone to bumps and scrapes, but if you notice patterns of injuries, particularly bruises, broken bones, burns, and scars, it should be reported to the appropriate authorities.

Sexual Abuse

One of the main categories of child abuse is sexual abuse. Sexual abuse occurs when an adult or older adolescent forces or entices a child to partake in sexual activities. Child abuse can also be defined by the inappropriate touching of a child, regardless of whether or not they are fully clothed.

Unlike physical abuse, sexual abuse can be more difficult to detect in children. There may be no physical signs of abuse but you should be aware of behaviours that can suggest a child is experiencing this category of child abuse, such as seeming withdrawn, engaging in self-destructive behaviour, anger and depression.

Psychological/Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse is often accompanied by physical categories of child abuse. It can involve humiliating, upsetting, or scaring a child. This category of child abuse can be used as a tactic to make children feel worthless and frightened so that they are more susceptible to receiving physical abuse.


Neglect is when a child is deprived of basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter. Parents or caregivers can also neglect children by depriving them of an education. It is not always easy to detect when a child is experiencing neglect. However, telltale signs include poor hygiene and appearance or changes in behaviour. If you suspect a child is not receiving adequate care or supervision, it is important to raise your concerns as you could save a child’s life.

Get In Touch

At TDP Solicitors, we are experienced in helping survivors of these categories of child abuse. We can’t erase what happened to you, but we can seek compensation for the awful abuse you experienced. If you have been impacted by these categories of child abuse and wish to make a claim, please get in touch with our team of solicitors for a confidential chat at 0151 242 5111 or email us at

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