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1. What is a child?

Any person under the age of 18 years.

2. What is abuse?

  • Physical abuse - includes hitting, shaking, squeezing, burning, biting, administering poisonous substances, suffocating/drowning, excessive force.
  • Neglect - a failure to meet basic essential needs of a child, or if a child is left unsupervised at a young age.
  • Emotional abuse - children harmed by constant lack of love and affection, or threats, verbal attacks, taunting or shouting.
  • Sexual abuse - involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children or adolescents, in sexual activity that they do not fully comprehend, or to which they are unable to give informed consent, or which violate the social taboos of family roles.

(A child may suffer more than one category of abuse)

3. Who abuses children?

  • very rarely a stranger
  • often someone close to a child, e.g. parent, carer, baby-sitter, sibling, relative or friend of the family
  • sometimes, someone in authority such as a teacher, youth leader, children's worker, or, very sadly, a church worker/leader
  • sometimes, paedophiles and others who set out to join organisations (including churches) to obtain access to children

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