There are multiple forms of abuse: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect.
Physical abuse is when a child suffers physical harm, or risk of harm, at the hands of a parent or caregiver (e.g., teacher, babysitter, coach) who is responsible for caring for a child. This includes forms of physical discipline or punishment. Caregiver negligence, or inability to protect a child from physical harm, or risk of physical harm, is also considered physical abuse and is cause for a possible investigation from a Children’s Aid Society.
Emotional abuse is when a child is emotionally harmed, or is at risk of being emotionally harmed, due to a caregiver’s behaviour including threatening, insulting, rejecting, spurning, terrorizing, swearing at, or isolating a child, withholding affection, or exposing to domestic violence. The emotional impact on a child results in fear, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self-destructive or aggressive behaviour, or delayed development. Emotional abuse is cause for a possible investigation from a Children’s Aid Society.
Sexual abuse is when a child has been sexually touched, molested, or exploited by a parent or caregiver, family member or sibling, or is at risk of being sexually molested or exploited by these people. This can also include exposure to pornography or exposure to sexual abuse of another person. Situations where a caregiver has knowledge of a child being sexually molested or exploited but fails to protect the child are also considered sexual abuse and is cause for a possible investigation from a Children’s Aid Society.
Neglect is when a child is harmed, becomes ill, left by themselves, abandoned, or is at risk of being harmed or becoming ill, due to a caregiver’s failure to properly provide for, supervise, feed, care, or protect a child. Situations where a child’s need for emotional, medical, mental, or developmental services and treatment are denied by a parent or caregiver are also considered neglect and is cause for a possible investigation from a Children’s Aid Society.