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Types of abuse

     
 
There are four types of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.
 
     
There are four types of abuse that are recognised in Ireland. These are physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Some types of abuse are more obvious than others. For example, physical abuse if often quite easy to spot, this might be when one person physically hits another person. A more difficult type of abuse to notice is neglect, for example when a parent drinks alcohol frequently, is a loving and fun parent to be around, but constantly forgets to feed their child/teen.

Physical abuse
Physical abuse is what most people think of when they hear of abuse.  It happens when another person injures or hurts someone, and it is not an accident.  This can include shoving, punching, slapping, pinching, hitting, kicking, hair pulling, choking, use of a weapon, and any other acts causing physical harm.  It is any action that causes an injury, leaves a mark, or causes bodily pain. If an adult fails to protect a child from physical abuse that they know is happening, they too are responsible for harming the child.

Sexual abuse
Sexual abuse is when someone uses another person against
     
 
This can include unwanted sexual
touching and kissing, finding ways to force the child to engage in any kind of sexual activity, and rape.
 
     
 their will for their own sexual gratification (or pleasure). Sexual abuse includes when an adult engages in any kind of sexual activity with a child. This can include unwanted sexual touching and kissing, finding ways to force the child to engage in any kind of sexual activity, and rape (forcing someone to engage in sexual intercourse). If a person is sexually abused by a member of their family, it is called incest.

The legal age to have sex in Ireland is 17 years old. Sex between someone aged 17 or older and someone under the age of 17 is known as statutory rape. This law is in place to protect young people.

Sexual abuse can also involve physical and/or emotional abuse. The abuser may use physical violence in order to abuse a child sexually, or they may threaten the child that something bad will happen if they tell someone about what is going on.

     
 
Emotional abuse can include name-calling, threats, screaming, yelling, ridiculing, criticizing, emotional blackmailing, and stalking.
 
     
Emotional abuse
Emotional abuse is often the most difficult type of abuse for people to recognise.  It happens when a parent, relative, friend or anyone who has regular contact with a child, is always or often threatening, dismissing, or insulting so as to put down a child or make them feel bad.  Emotional abuse can include name-calling, threats, screaming, yelling, ridiculing, criticizing, emotional blackmailing, and stalking.  It happens when a child or young person’s need for affection, approval, stability and security is not met by the person who should be looking after them.

Emotional abuse occurs often with other types of abuse.  It can include threatening a child that is being abused that if they tell anybody about what’s going on, the abuser will hurt them more or hurt the person they tell.  It can also include telling a child that what is happening is their own fault, or that they deserve it. It is important to remember that nobody has the right to abuse any child, no matter what. Every child has the right to be safe.

Neglect
     
 
Neglect is when a child or young person suffers harm by not having the things they need to develop safely into adulthood.
 
     

Neglect is when a child or young person suffers harm by not having the things they need to develop safely into adulthood.  These things include food, clothes, warmth, hygiene, intellectual stimulation, supervision and safety, attachment to and affection from adults, and medical care. Neglect happens when a parent or any person who looks after a child does not meet these needs.  Neglect is not always on purpose, and some parents and care givers need support to learn how to take care of their children and how to make sure their children’s needs are met.