All forms of abuse

At Counselling Northumberland I want to be very proactive in raising awareness about all forms of abuse.

I have long-term specialist experience particularly of working with those who experienced childhood sexual abuse.

All forms of abuse are very complex subjects and deserve everyone’s attention.

Abuse takes on many forms, some so subtle only the one experiencing it will feel the full impact of its pain.

The pain can come in many guises; emotional, physical and psychological.

Abuse is when one person (child or adult) focusses their own will on another, misusing trust and power to control the other for their own ends. Abuse can mean the withdrawal of attention too. This can be done in person, via another, internet, phone, media, etc. Misuse of power can find many routes. Often abuse can be confusing to the one experiencing it. Possibly the abuser is/was their main carer or parent and at times shows them much needed attention. For someone being abused attention can feel like a lifeline even when the attention is abusive.

The following ‘types of abuse’ refer to children but safeguarding includes any vulnerable person, adult or child.

Types of abuse


is the persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development.

Physical abuse

may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child or adult.

Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer fabricates the symptoms of, or deliberately induces, illness in a child.

Emotional abuse could include:

  • humiliating or criticising a child or adult
  • disciplining a child or adult with degrading punishments
  • not recognising someone’s own individuality and limitations, like pushing them too hard, or being too controlling
  • exposing a child or adult to distressing events or interactions, like domestic abuse or substance misuse
  • failing to promote a child or adult’s social development, such as not allowing them to have friends
  • persistently ignoring a child, being absent, never expressing positive feelings towards a child, or never showing any emotions in interactions with a child (emotional neglect).

Child sexual abuse includes:

  • assault by penetration, including rape or penetration of the mouth with an object or part of the body
  • sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed, including using an object
  • encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, including sexual acts with someone else, or making a child strip or masturbate
  • exposing a child to distressing events or interactions, like domestic abuse or substance misuse
  • intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child or not taking proper measures to prevent a child being exposed to sexual activity by others
  • meeting a child following sexual ‘grooming’, or preparation, with the intention of abusing them
  • taking, making, permitting to take, distributing, showing or advertising indecent images of children
  • paying for the sexual services of a child or encouraging them into prostitution or pornography
  • showing a child images of sexual activity including photographs, videos or via webcam

Possible signs that abuse has occurred

  • depression and other mental health issues
  • anger, sadness or other strong emotions
  • low self-esteem
  • substance use
  • resurfacing childhood memories that cause distress and confusion
  • poor physical health.

Childhood abuse statistics from NSPCC and Action against abuse

  • Between 1 and 4 children die every 10 days as a result of child cruelty.
  • 36% of all rapes recorded by the police are committed against children under 16
  • 25% of children experienced one or more forms of physical violence during childhood
  • 72% of sexually abused children did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time. 27% told later. 31% still had not told anyone by early adulthood.
  • 1 in 4 young adults are severely maltreated during childhood
  • 24.1% of young adults experienced sexual abuse by an adult or peer during childhood.
  • 1 in 6 children between 11 – 17 experienced sexual abuse.
  • £1 billion per annum was the estimated costs of abuse. This figure was far exceeded and was spent as a consequence not in prevention
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For any enquiries please email
or call 07940 465131

We are based at:
The Bodywork Centre, 4 Eastgate, Hexham NE46 1BH

© 2018 Counselling Northumberland