Types Of Abuse

There are many different types of abuse.

Although abuse and trauma have many forms, the impacts are often similar. With the right help, children can and do heal.

Child abuse can take many different forms, including physical, sexual, or emotional maltreatment of children. Child abuse also may include neglect, exposure to domestic violence, and exposure to substance abuse.


Neglect is the most common form of child abuse. Neglect is when a child’s basic needs for food, housing, health care and warm clothing are not met.

Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse can include any kind of sexual act directed toward a child by an adult or by an older or more powerful child.

What parents need to know about child sexual abuse
Child sex abuse fact sheet
Coping with the shock of intrafamilial sexual abuse

Physical Abuse

Child physical abuse is the inflicting of physical injury upon a child. Sometimes physical abuse happens even when parents did not intend to cause an injury. Physical abuse may include burning, hitting, punching, shaking, kicking, beating, or otherwise harming a child.

Child physical abuse fact sheet

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse includes acts or the failures to act by parents or caretakers that have caused or could cause serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional or mental disorders.

Domestic Violence

Exposure to family violence between adults in a child’s home can be harmful to children. It can include witnessing or being aware of violence happening between adults in the home. Exposure to substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol by parents and other caregivers, also can have negative effects on the health, safety, and well-being of children.

Children and domestic violence fact sheet series
FAQ Domestic violence