Kimberley Gerssen; Florianne de Nooijer; Maria Klage; and Huong Pham

“Will it ever stop? Is this normal? Am I okay with this? Should this be happening to me right now? Does anyone even notice what is happening to me? Am I alone in this fight? Should I speak up to somebody I trust?? Will I let this continue?  Will I accept this for the rest of my life? Will I make a change? This is probably how it’s supposed to be, right? This is supposed to happen to me, right? Will it ever stop…? I deserve this.” (One Child Too Many, n.d.)




Child abuse is a global problem that carries along serious long-term consequences. This includes “all types of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and commercial or other exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health” (World Health Organization, 2020 happens).



There are four main types of abuse that to children on a far too frequent base: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

Physical abuse is  an act of violence towards children which can cause serious injuries and traumas and which either repeats itself multiple times or it stays with a onetime offense (Kidshelpline, 2018). When physical abuse is happening, this can be done unintentionally or intentionally depending on the situation and will always remain against the law in most countries or states even though this is still being accepted in some areas. It is important to note that as soon as soon as a child is being suspected of physical abuse, take action. Nearing the end of this chapter, more information can be found to help guide teachers/caretakers through such processes when it does occur.

Emotional abuse is a complex type of abuse since there is no definite explanation for it, just like sexual abuse. Discussions get going when we talk about emotional abuse since emotional abuse can also be referred to as psychological or psychological maltreatment. Also mental cruelty, verbal abuse and psychological aggression can be seen as being part of emotional abuse (Berglund & Doherty, 2008), This chapter will teach you how emotional abuse is seen as being systematic, emotional mistreatment which can lead to serious consequences regarding damaging the cognitive. (Barlow, Hibbard, and MacMillan, 2012)

Sexual abuse is also a real problem on a global scale which involves different types of sexual acts and mostly performed with under-aged children where the adult is taking advantage of the situation. These sexual acts can vary from noncontact sexual acts to contact sexual acts and are mostly done by adults whom the children or parents are familiar with (Castro, Ibanez, Mate, Esteban & Barrada, 2019). Just as the other types of abuse which will be mentioned in this chapter, sexual abuse has devastating long-lasting consequences and traumas.

Neglect is all about children needing the love, and affection from their parents/caretakers. By neglecting a child, parents or caretakers automatically fail to provide a child’s basic needs. Children need this attention and love since this helps increase their physical, cognitive and social development (Carroll et al, 2013; Narvaez et al, 2016). Neglect is seen as the most serious form of child abuse which also has devastating consequences for the development of the child. Neglect has been defined by The World Health Organization (WHO, 1999) as a type of abuse where parents show no care for their child’s development regarding a child’s social development, mental health, education or nutrition and safety.


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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by Kimberley Gerssen; Florianne de Nooijer; Maria Klage; and Huong Pham is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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