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Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse of a child or young person is the persistent emotional neglect or ill treatment that has severe and persistent adverse effects on a child or young person’s emotional development.

This may involve conveying to a child or young person that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in terms of how they meet the needs of another person.

It may involve the imposition of age inappropriate expectations on a child or expectations that do not appropriately consider where a child is in their development.

Emotional abuse may involve causing children or young people to feel frightened or in danger, or exploiting or corrupting them. 

Some level of emotional abuse is present in all types of ill treatment of a child or young person; it can also occur independently of other forms of abuse.

Useful links

Key resources

Guidance Resource

Emotional neglect and emotional abuse in pre-school children

Year: 2012 | Topic: Child protection, Child sexual exploitation (CSE), Emotional abuse | Author: NSPCC
Leaflet on what is known about children aged less than six years who have been emotionally neglected or emotionally abused.
Guidance Resource

Neglect or emotional abuse in teenagers aged 13-18

Year: 2014 | Topic: Child protection, Child sexual exploitation (CSE), Emotional abuse | Author: NSPCC
Leaflet summary of the scientific literature that describes what teenagers aged 13-18 who are experiencing neglect or emotional abuse say abo…
Guidance Resource

Neglect or emotional abuse in children aged 5-14

Year: 2014 | Topic: Child protection, Emotional abuse | Author: NSPCC
Leaflet on what is known about children aged 5-14 years who have been neglected or emotionally abused.

Topics

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