Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that leads to injury or harm.
It commonly occurs within a relationship of trust or responsibility and is an abuse of power or a breach of trust. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability. Abusers can be adults (male or female) and other young people, and are usually known to and trusted by the child and family.
There are four main types of child abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect. The abuser may be a family member, or they may be someone the child encounters in a residential setting or in the community, including during sports and leisure activities. An individual may abuse or neglect a child directly, or may be responsible for abuse because they fail to prevent another person harming that child.
Further information is available on our Child abuse is a sports setting page.
This topic is covered in much greater depth on the NSPCC website – see Child abuse and neglect.