Child Abuse

You like to go to school and play with your friends. You don’t like being at home. When you are, you’re often by yourself or there’s a lot of arguing. It’s hard for you to talk with someone about it. When you suffer child abuse, it can be extremely upsetting. Child abuse involves things that happen in your environment – at home, at school and with family and acquaintances. The things that happen are unpleasant. It may be that you are occasionally beaten, constantly forced to cook and clean at home or that someone touches your body against your will. This might make you extremely sad and afraid to talk to anyone about it.

What is child abuse?

When someone treats you badly in a way that causes you pain or makes you sad or scared. You think about it a lot and, among other things, this might make it difficult for you to concentrate at school.

There are different types of child abuse: 

  • Physical abuse: this means that someone you know harms you physically, such as by hitting or kicking you.
  • Psychological abuse: when you are cursed at, told that you can’t do anything right or deliberately scared by someone, it may be that you are dealing with psychological abuse.
  • Neglect: this means that your parents don’t have much time for you. You’re at home alone far too often. You have to take care of yourself and maybe also your little brothers and sisters. Your parents are busy and have little time to do things with you, like watching television together on the couch. You would like to tell your parents how things are going at school, but they don’t ask you about this. They are busy dealing with their own problems.
  • Witnessing domestic violence: it’s not nice to hear or see your parents fighting. It makes you sad and you don’t want them to fight, but you can’t do anything about it. It's also a kind of child abuse when your parents fight a lot when you're around.
  • Sexual abuse: this is when someone touches your body against your will. They might touch your buttocks, breasts, vagina or penis. It may also be that an adult wants you to touch him or her in these places. This is called sexual abuse.

What causes child abuse?

It may be that your parents don't know how to deal with you in the right way, and therefore treat you badly. It may also be that your parents themselves have problems and, as a result, do things the wrong way. 

How common is child abuse?

Research conducted in the Netherlands in 2005 found that approximately one child in every class suffers from child abuse. This is an estimate. Many children find it difficult to tell someone else that they have been abused, which makes it difficult to provide an exact number. However, it is very important that you talk with someone about it so that you can be helped. You aren’t the only one.


When you suffer child abuse, it can be extremely upsetting. Talking to someone about it can make you feel better. There are also people who help children and parents when child abuse occurs. Child abuse can cause trauma.

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