4 Types of Child Abuse & Signs that Your Child is Being Abused

What is Child Abuse?

Many people think that child abuse refers to the physical abuse of a child only. However, child abuse is any maltreatment by adults towards children. It may be in the form of neglect, emotional abuse, violence, or anything that scares a child.

According to the New Straits Times, approximately 20000 cases of child abuse have been reported for the past five years in Malaysia. They expressed their concern explaining that if the individuals were not well punished, the number would rise.

When it happens at home, it is referred to as domestic violence. However, sometimes the kids are abused by other individuals who they trust and depend on, such as caregivers, teachers, and sports coaches, among others.

Sometimes, caregivers & parents may be intentionally hurting the child, but sometimes it’s as a result of personal stress.

Why You Should Read this Article

  • You may think you are a good parent only to find out you have been abusing your child unknowingly. This knowledge is, therefore, vital.
  • It will highlight on symptoms may lead to the realization that your child is secretly suffering from abuse without your knowledge.
  • To learn the different types of child abuse

What are the Different Types of Child Abuse?

The most common types of child abuse include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect

What is Physical Abuse?

Physical child abuse is any injury caused by any form of physical aggression from an adult. This is regardless of whether the blow was intended or not. This may result from;

  •   Pushing, kicking, throwing, shaking
  •   Burning with hot objects such as scalding water, cigarettes, etc.
  •   Biting, choking, pinching, or hair pulling
  •   Severe physical punishment
  •   Hitting, slapping, beating

Is Physical Abuse Similar to Physical Punishment?

Physical abuse is any injuries acquired via physical aggression, while physical punishment is the art of using physical force to inflict pain (not injury) to correct a child. Lack of control during physical punishment may lead to physical abuse.

Other forms of physical abuse you didn’t know exist

Shaken Baby Syndrome – Shaking a baby may cause damage to its health

Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome – Inducing any kind of ailment to a child or wrongly convincing others that the kid is sick.

Use of alcohol during pregnancy – Drinking alcohol during pregnancy or lactation can cause ailments such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and is, therefore, considered a form of child abuse.


Sadly, thousands of kids are physically abused every year, which leads to injuries or death. For the few children who survive, they are left with emotional scars that they have to deal with for a lifetime.

Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Running away from home, school or daycare
  • Unexplainable bruises
  • Fear of adults

Solitude is a sign of child abuse

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is any sexual act between an adult and a child. It could be oral sex, penetration, rape, incest, intercourse, or sodomy.

The following are also considered as forms of sexual abuse;

  • Fondling – This involves letting a child fondle an adult’s genitals or kissing and touching a kid’s genitals.
  • Violating a Child’s Body Privacy – This may be an adult forcing a child to undress before them or spying on then during showers and in their bedrooms.
  • Exposing a Child to Adult Sexuality – This includes having any form of sex in the presence of a kid, watching adult films with a kid, or letting them watch “dirty” stories.

Commercial exploitation – This could be through child pornography or child prostitution.

PS: Regardless of how a child reacts or feels about the sexual act, it is still considered as sexual abuse. Also, child abuse cannot be blamed on a child.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Fear of a particular adult
  • Developing a seductive behavior
  • A negative attitude towards sexually related topics and rejecting their genitals
  • Inappropriate interest and excessive knowledge of sexual acts.

What is Emotional Child Abuse?

Emotional abuse is doing something or not doing something for a kid interfering with their emotional or social development.

This type of abuse is present when other types of abuse are there. It could be extreme punishment or verbal abuse.

Surprisingly, emotional abuse has a long lasting effect than sexual or physical abuse. Physiological and mental abuse are other forms of emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse can be from adults (parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches, etc.) or fellow children.

What is Child Neglect?

Child neglect is the most common of all types of child abuse. Child neglect is the failure of doing something for a kid. Well, one time of neglect is not defined as child neglect, but a continuous pattern becomes a form of abuse.

Child neglect is manifested in the following areas;

Physical neglect – Failure to provide clothing, food, and health needs for a child as required.

Education neglect – Not enrolling a child to school at the right age or denying them special education when necessary. Excessive absence of school is also seen as child neglect.

Emotional neglect – This is the failure to provide affection and love to a child and not considering their emotional feelings.

Signs of Child Neglect

  • Extreme hunger
  • Wearing dirty clothes and not having baths
  • Unsuited clothes for certain weather (for example; no sweater when it’s raining)
  • Lack of supervision


Child abuse is everywhere in society. You will soon realize the truth of the statement once you start making keen observations.

Your children may be facing abuse in your hands (without your knowledge) or through the hands of another family member, caregiver, or a person you have entrusted with the safety of your child.

Look out for any signs of child abuse and don’t ignore them if you notice any hints. This will help you take the right measures in the situation.

You may be the only chance of salvation of a child in your neighborhood to living a normal childhood.

Also, learn the different ways of preventing child abuse and educate people around you as well.


Special note: While choosing a preschool, daycare, nursery for your children, be very mindful of selecting a brand that assures proper child safety and care.

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