What is abuse?

Being mistreated or abused (sometimes called ‘Significant Harm') is defined as Sexual Abuse, Physical Abuse, Neglect or Emotional Abuse.

Physical Abuse

When an adult deliberately hurts a child, such as hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning, drowning or suffocating.

Emotional Abuse

This would happen, for instance, when a child is all the time being unfairly blamed for everything, or told they are stupid and made to feel unhappy.


Where a child is not being looked after properly, for example, not getting enough to eat or being left alone in dangerous situations.

Sexual Abuse

An example of sexual abuse would be where a child has been forced to take part in sexual activities or in the taking of rude photos .


E.g. calling names, damaging property, stealing, spreading rumours, cyberbullying, hurting, getting people into trouble.

Domestic Violence

When one adult in a family or relationship threatens, bullies or hurts another family member e.g. physically, psychologically, emotionally, sexually or financially.

The Department for Education Stop Child Abuse Campaign

The Department for Education have launched a national communications campaign to encourage members of the public to report child abuse.The campaign, which is aimed at parents will address all forms of abuse and neglect. If you believe a child is at immediate risk you call the police on 999, or alternative call the police on 101 if you think a crime has been committed.  If you are worried that a child or young person in Central Bedfordshire is at risk of being abused you can contact the Access and Referral Hub on 0300 300 8585. If your call is outside office hours please call 0300 300 8123. If you have concerns about a child or young person you know from another area click here to obtain the number for your local authority.



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