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Spotting Signs of Abuse

Child abuse is when anyone under the age of 18 is either being harmed or not properly looked after. Abuse can take many different forms, meaning it can sometimes be difficult to spot. To learn about the different types of abuse, visit the NSPCC website.

Common signs of abuse

It’s not always easy for children to talk to someone if they’re being abused, and sometimes they might not even realise that they are experiencing abuse. If you notice a concerning change in a child’s behaviour, don’t ignore it.

Common signs of abuse, according to NSPCC, include:

  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • becoming withdrawn
  • seeming anxious
  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive
  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any
  • poor bond or relationship with a parent
  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age
  • running away or going missing
  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body



GOVUK have created guidance for parents and carers about potential dangers to give you the knowledge and skills to act if there is a problem. It could also help keep your child safe by preventing issues before they happen.

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