Understanding and Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect

Introduction

The Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act defines child abuse and neglect or child maltreatment as:

Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation, or an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

  • Neglect is a failure to meet the child’s basic needs, e.g., not providing enough food, shelter or basic supervision, necessary medical or mental health treatment, adequate education or emotional comfort.

  • Physical abuse refers to the injury of a child on purpose, e.g., striking, kicking, beating, biting or any action that leads to physical injury.

  • Sexual abuse is the use, persuasion or forcing of a child to engage in sexual acts or imitation of such acts.

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