Personal SafetyChild Abuse
What is child abuse?
Child abuse is an act by parents or caregivers which endangers a child or young person’s physical or emo- tional health or development. Child abuse can be a single incident, but usually takes place over time.
In Victoria, under the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 a child or young person is a person under eighteen years of age.
Physical abuse occurs when a child suffers or is likely to suffer significant harm from an injury in icted by a child’s parent or caregiver. The injury may be inflicted intentionally or may be the inadvertent consequence of physical punishment or physically aggressive treatment of a child. The injury may take the form of bruises, cuts, burns or fractures.
Sexual abuse occurs when a person uses power or authority over a child to involve the child in sexual activity and the child’s parent or caregiver has not protected the child. Physical force is sometimes involved. Child sexual abuse involves a wide range of sexual activity. It includes fondling of the child’s genitals, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, nger or other object, or exposure of the child to pornography.
Emotional Abuse occurs when a child’s parent or caregiver repeat- edly rejects the child or uses threats to frighten the child. This may involve name calling, put downs or continual coldness from the parent or caregiver, to the extent that it signi cantly damages the child’s physical, social, intellectual or emotional development.
Neglect is the failure to provide the child with the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, medical attention or supervision, to the extent that the child’s health and development is, or is likely to be, significantly harmed.