child abuse

The four main types of child abuse are:

Sexual abuse/sexual misconduct

Any sexual act or sexual threat imposed on a child or young person.

For example, suggestive behaviour, inappropriate touching or voyeuristically watching an athlete shower or change clothes.

Physical abuse

Non-accidental injury and/or harm to a child or young person, caused by another person such as a parent, care-giver or even an older child.

For example, physically punishing a young person for losing a game by hitting, throwing equipment, pushing or shoving.

Emotional abuse

Behaviours that may psychologically harm a child or young person.

For example, threatening language, bullying, ridicule, personal abuse and comments designed to demean and humiliate.


Failing to provide a child or young person with basic physical and emotional necessities, harming them or putting them at risk of harm.

For example, keeping the best young player on-field to win the game despite having an injury or making children play in excessive heat.



These definitions and indicators have been included as a guide only. They do not replace the need for consultation with professionals who work in the area of child abuse.