Child Abuse

Child Abuse is when someone under the age of 18 has been harmed or not properly looked after. It can be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect. Child Abuse may also be linked to faith or belief.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please contact Sussex Police by ringing 999.

If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse, or you feel you may be victim of child abuse, please reach out for help and support. There are services to the right of this page that can help you.

If you would prefer not to report to the police, you can contact Children Services within your local Council (see links below) or you can report anonymously via Crimestoppers here.


Types of Child Abuse:

Physical Abuse

Examples of physical abuse are:

  • hitting, slapping
  • kicking
  • disciplining using physical force
  • misusing medication
  • making up an illness
  • burning
  • choking
  • female genital mutilation/cutting

Female genital mutilation/cutting happens because of cultural, religious or social reasons and is when a female's genitals are deliberately cut or removed for non-medical reasons. The NHS site provides more information on this.


Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is when a child is enticed or forced to take part in sexual activities. Child sexual exploitation is a form of child sexual abuse in which the victim is often given something, such as food, money, drugs, alcohol or gifts in exchange for sexual activity, this includes making of images or videos.

The manipulation or 'grooming' process involves the abuser creating an impression of authority in some way. This can take place in person, or online.

If you are worried about keeping yourself/someone else safe online, you can find lots of information on Get Safe Online website.

Report Remove is a service run by Childline to help young people get sexual images and videos of themselves removed from the internet. 

The following QR code will take you to the NWG Safe to Play campaign website where there are resources and short videos for parents, carers and children around keeping children safe and tackling Child Exploitation through sport.

QR Code Safe to Play

Emotional Abuse

Examples of emotional abuse include:

  • being bullied
  • being frightened or made to feel in danger
  • being unfairly blamed
  • being made to feel worthless
  • witnessing the abuse of others



Neglect is when basic needs are continually not being met by the person meant to be looking after them.

Basic needs include:

  • Enough food
  • Shelter
  • Protection from harm
  • Supervision
  • Access to medical care


Child Abuse linked to Faith or Belief

Child Abuse linked to faith or belief is when practices linked to faith or belief are harmful to a child, or abuse is happening to a child because of a belief in witchcraft, spirit possession or because of a ritual. 

The National FGM centre has more information on this type of abuse.


Historic Child Abuse

Child abuse doesn't necessarily have to be happening now. You may be an adult now, who has had experiences in the past when you were a child. Help and support is still available for you.


Sarah's Law

Sarah's Law is the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme which allows anyone to formally ask the police for information about a person who has contact with their child, or a child close to them, if they're concerned the person may pose a risk.

You can apply online here, or you can contact Sussex Police on 101.


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