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Child Abuse

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What is Child Abuse?

Child Abuse is one of the three threads under safeguarding. However, Adult at Risk and Elder Abuse are managed jointly under legislation and the Wales Safeguarding Procedures.

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.” NSPCC

The NSPCC identify 13 types of child abuse (for more specific details on each from the NSPCC see their website): 

Child abuse is when anyone under the age of 18 is either being harmed or not properly looked after. There are four main categories of child abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.” Metropolitan Police

The abuse can take place in any setting, whether in a private dwelling, an institution or any other place. If the victim is over the age of 18, it falls under the category of adult at risk of abuse.

  • Children Act 1989 duty of local authorities to safeguard and promote children’s welfare and when to initiate care proceedings.
  • Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act 2014 requirements for regional safeguarding boards in Wales. Replaced part of the Children Act 1989 and 2004. Changed the focus to prevention and early intervention and gave individuals a stronger voice, more choice and control. Strengthened the powers for safeguarding children and adults at risk, as well as made changes to improve services and accountability.
  • Rights of Children and Young Persons (Wales) Measure 2011 requires due regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 includes the 7 wellbeing goals for a resilient Wales, a more equal Wales, a Healthier Wales and a Wales of Cohesive Communities. These are to be delivered through the 5 ways of working: collaboration, prevention, involvement, integration and long-term.
  • Children Act 2004 accountability of partners towards safeguarding.

For individual legislation linked to specific activities of child abuse please see the legislation sections under the different topics.

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

If a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999. Otherwise, call the police on 101 or report it online depending on your region of Wales – South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police, Gwent Police or North Wales Police. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use the Police textphone service 18000, or text on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergency SMS service.

Report to the Local Authority Safeguarding teams or Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (see Directory for contact details).

The NSPCC website has a range of information and advice about reporting abuse and keeping children safe in a range of situations. You can call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, report online or email