Neglect Emotional Abuse Physical Abuse

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What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is the ill-treatment of children by adults or older children. There are several types of child abuse. These include:

  1. Neglect

  2. Emotional Abuse

  3. Physical Abuse

  4. Sexual Abuse

The failure – intentional or unintentional – of parents or guardians to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care, education, love and/or nurturing to a child.

Some Signs of Neglect:

  1. Unkempt appearance

  2. Lack of medical or dental care

  3. Poor hygiene

  4. Abandonment

  5. Consistent hunger

Some Behaviours of a Neglected Child:

  1. Begs for food

  2. Steals

  3. Lack of interest

  4. Tired and listless

  5. Passive or aggressive

  6. Poor attendance at school

  7. Rocking

  8. Isolation

  9. Depression

Emotional Abuse:

The repeated rejection and humiliation of a child,

constant negative communication, withholding of love and affection and the ultimate destruction of the child’s self-esteem.

Some Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  1. Physical problems resulting from stress

  2. Poor performance at school

  3. Low self-esteem

  4. Low confidence

  5. Constantly putting self down

Some Behaviours of an Emotionally Abused Child:

  1. Depression

  2. Excessively passive or aggressive

  3. Sleep problems

  4. Slow development

Physical Abuse:
The intentional physical injury or pattern of injuries caused by a parent, guardian or caregiver.
Some Signs of Physical Abuse:

  1. Unexplained bruises

  2. Burns

  3. Fractures

  4. Other injuries

  5. Hiding or lying about injuries

Some Behaviours of a Physically Abused Child:

  1. Afraid and timid

  2. Afraid to go home

  3. Resists physical contact

  4. Violent to others or self

  5. Lack of trust

  6. Depression

Sexual Abuse:
The involvement of a child in any sexual

practices with an adult or older child. Includes fondling, sexual suggestions, touching, and penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal).

Some Signs of Sexual Abuse:

  1. Unexplained bleeding or discharge from genital or anal areas

  2. Stress related disorders

  3. Infections of the mouth or throat

  4. Sexually transmitted diseases

  5. Loss of appetite

  6. Unexplained vomiting or gagging

  7. Nightmares

Some Behaviours of a Sexually Abused Child:

  1. Promiscuous sexual behaviours

  2. Resist physical contact

  3. Obsession with private parts

  4. Fearful

  5. Self-destructive

  6. Suicidal

  7. Withdrawal

  8. Depression

Keeping Your Child Safe:

  1. Never leave your child alone, even in a car

  2. Listen to your child when he/she says that he/she does not want to be with someone

  3. Get to know your child’s friends/activities

  4. Be cautious if someone shows excessive interest in your child

  5. Be aware of changes in your child’s behaviour

  6. Do not dress your child in clothes that display your child’s name. Strangers could pretend to know your child, giving the child a false sense of security

  7. Be sure that your child’s school or nursery does not allow anyone other than yourself or someone you have identified to collect your child from school

  8. Talk to your child about who to talk to or call if lost or separated from you when away from home

  9. Listen to your child

What every child should hear:

  1. I’m so lucky to have you

  2. You’re a great helper

  3. I like it when you try hard

  4. Let’s talk about it

  5. I’m sorry

  6. You’re very special to me

  7. Thank you for your help

  8. I love you

Child Abuse

What you need to know.

If you want more information about child abuse, please look at some of our other brochures or contact Help & Shelter.

If you experience any of the following, please contact Help & and Shelter for help

  1. You feel lonely and isolated with no one to turn to

  2. You feel nervous and unable to cope

  3. You feel you have no control

  4. You feel that you are not a good parent

  5. You are depressed

  6. Your problems seem overwhelming

  7. You’re afraid of what you might do to your child

  8. You sometimes hurt your child

  9. You experience sexual feelings toward your child

  10. You suspect your child or another child may be experiencing abuse

Our Phone number: 02-73454

When you can call: 24 hours/day, 7 days/week

Who will talk with you: A trained counselor

All information is confidential

  1. Counselling for all forms of abuse

  2. Support through the court experience for victims of rape and child sexual abuse

  3. Consciousness raising for the community

  4. Training of new volunteers

  5. School talks to educate young people about violence

Services Offered by Help and Shelter

August, 2000

c/o Ministry of Housing Annexe

Bottom Flat

Homestretch Avenue

Durban Park

Phone: 02-73454, 02-54731, 02-78353



The Crisis Centre

Knowles House

Princess Margaret Hospital


If you suspect child abuse, please call your nearest Probation and Welfare

Department. Or, call Help & Shelter at 73454

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