Child Abuse, Neglect and Grooming

Child abuse involves conduct that puts children and young people at risk of harm (usually by adults, sometimes by other children) and often by those they know and trust. 
Child abuse includes: 

Physical abuse: non-accidental injury (or a pattern of injuries) to a child or young person by their parent, care-giver or another person. Behaviours include but are not limited to hitting, shaking or other physical harm.

Sexual abuse: any act in which a person with power or authority over a child (female or male, adult or older child) uses a child for sexual gratification. Sexual abuse includes a rage of contact and non-contact behaviour:

  • Non-contact acts of sexual abuse include: 
    • making sexual comments by verbal, letter, telephone or via electronic communication;
    • exposure to pornography and/or voyeurism;
    • nudity - adult exposing parts of their body or a child’s body; and
    • photography of child in a sexual or suggestive pose.
  • Contact acts of sexual abuse include:
    • fondling a child’s genitals or breasts, or forcing the child to fondle another person’s genitals;
    • masturbation;
    • intimate kissing;
    • sexual penetration;
    • oral sex; and
    • exploiting a child through prostitution. 
  • Emotional abuse and psychological harm: occurs when a parent, caregiver or other person in authority or with power damages the confidence or self-esteem of a child or young person, resulting in serious emotional disturbance or psychological trauma. Often this is a pattern of emotional or psychological abuse, rather than a single incident. Such abuse might include: threats, humiliation, taunting, sarcasm, yelling, negative criticism, name calling, ignoring or placing unrealistic expectations on a child to the extent that it results in significant damage to the child’s physical, intellectual or emotional wellbeing and development.
  • Neglect: occurs when a parent or caregiver fails to provide a child with basic necessities of life. Such neglect includes the failure to provide food, water, shelter or clothing or to protect a child from danger or foreseeable risk of harm or injury. Also the failure to provide supervision or medical attention to the extent that the child’s health and development is, or is likely to be significantly harmed.
  • Exposure to Domestic Violence: occurs when Children witness or experience the chronic domination, coercion, intimidation and victimisation of one person by another by physical, sexual or emotional means within a domestic relationship. Exposure to family violence places children and young people at increased risk of physical injury and/or psychological harm and has a significant impact on their wellbeing and development.
  • Grooming: occurs when communication or conduct is linked to facilitating the involvement of a Child in sexual behaviour with an Adult. Indicators of ‘grooming’ include but are not limited to:
    • Developing special relationships with, favouring or giving gifts to a Child. 
    • Inappropriate interactions with Children either in person or via forms of media and electronic devices.
    • Asking a Child to keep a secret of any aspect of their relationship.
    • Testing of or ignoring professional boundaries or rules


Thanks to Child Wise the following Fact Sheets are available - please click to download 

What is Child Abuse:

What is Child Sexual Abuse:

What are signs of neglect?

Normal vs concerning sexual development in children:

Procedures for handling allegations of Child Abuse:

Please download below the MPP Toolkit:

Complete the Online Training