What is child abuse?

Child abuse is when a child is intentionally harmed by an adult or another child – it can be over a period of time but can also be a one-off action. It can be physical, sexual or emotional and it can happen in person or online. It can also be a lack of love, care and attention – this is neglect.

Types of abuse

Find out about the different types of child abuse, what signs to look out for and what to do if you have concerns about a child.

More on types of abuse

Spotting the signs

We can help you to recognise the signs of abuse and give you support if you're worried about a child.

Find out more

Effects of abuse

Find out about how child abuse happens, its effects and how we can work together to give a child who's been abused the support they need.

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Children's stories

Children share their stories of experiencing abuse or neglect - and how they found hope for the future.

Read stories about abuse

What to do if you suspect abuse

If you're worried about a child or young person, you can call the NSPCC helpline for support and advice for free on 0808 800 5000.

Children can call Childline any time on 0800 1111 or download the 'For Me' app.

Get support

More about child abuse and neglect

Leila's story

Leila was 13 when she ran away from home and was sexually exploited by older men. We helped her to realise she was being sexually exploited and to seek help.
Read Leila's story

Sexual abuse

If you're worried about sexual abuse, we're here to support you. We have information and advice to help navigate through a difficult time.
Find out more


Neglect can be hard to spot. We've got advice on the types and signs of neglect and what you can do if you’re worried about a child.
Find out more

How we're working to keep children safe

Working with schools

We visit schools across the country, helping children understand what abuse is. We also provide professionals with advice, training and resources.
Read more

Our services

Find out how we work directly with children, families and professionals to protect children and prevent abuse.
Read more

Work or volunteer with children and families?

Visit NSPCC Learning for information, resources and training to help you respond to child abuse and neglect and protect children and young people across the UK.

Go to NSPCC Learning

Help us make a difference

Whether it's volunteering for us, challenging yourself with an event or campaigning, there are lots of ways you can help us keep more children safe.

Get involved