What is abuse and neglect?
Child Sexual Exploitation
Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a form of child sexual abuse in which a person or persons of any age take advantage of a power imbalance to force or entice a child into engaging in sexual activity, in return for something received by the child and/or those perpetrating or facilitating the abuse. As with other forms of child sexual abuse, the presence of perceived consent does not excuse or mitigate the abusive nature of the act.
Emotional abuse is persistent emotional ill treatment that has severe and persistent adverse effects on a child’s emotional development. ‘Persistent’ means there is a continuous or intermittent pattern which has caused, or is likely to cause, significant harm. Emotional abuse is present to some extent in all types of ill treatment of a child, but it can also occur independently of other forms of abuse. It may involve: - conveying to a child that they are worthless or unloved, inadequate or valued only in so far as they meet the needs of another person - exploitation or corruption of a child, or imposition of demands inappropriate for their age or stage of development - repeated silencing, ridiculing or intimidation - demands that so exceed a child’s capability that they may be harmful - extreme overprotection, such that a child is harmed by prevention of learning, exploration and social development - seeing or hearing the abuse of another (in accordance with the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018)
Neglect 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. ‘Persistent’ means there is a pattern which may be continuous or intermittent which has caused, or is likely to cause significant harm. However, single instances of neglectful behaviour by a person in a position of responsibility can be significantly harmful. Early signs of neglect indicate the need for support to prevent harm. Once a child is born, neglect may involve a parent or carer failing to provide adequate food, clothing and shelter (including exclusion from home or abandonment), to protect a child from physical and emotional harm or danger, to ensure adequate supervision (including the use of inadequate caregivers), or to seek consistent access to appropriate medical care or treatment.
Physical abuse is the causing of physical harm to a child or young person. Physical abuse may involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning or suffocating. Physical harm may also be caused when a parent or carer feigns the symptoms of, or deliberately causes, ill health to a child they are looking after
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is an act that involves a child under 16 years of age in any activity for the sexual gratification of another person, whether or not it is claimed that the child either consented or assented. Sexual abuse involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening
Child trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt, exchange or transfer of control of a child under the age of 18 years for the purposes of exploitation. Transfer or movement can be within an area and does not have to be across borders. Examples of trafficking can include sexual, criminal and financial exploitation, forced labour, removal of organs, illegal adoption, and forced or illegal marriage.
Criminal exploitation refers to the action of an individual or group using an imbalance of power to coerce, control, manipulate or deceive a child or young person under the age of 18 into any criminal activity in exchange for something the victim needs or wants, or for the financial or other advantage of the perpetrator or facilitator. Violence or the threat of violence may feature. The victim may have been criminally exploited, even if the activity appears consensual. Child criminal exploitation may involve physical contact and may also occur through the use of technology. It may involve gangs and organised criminal networks. Sale of illegal drugs may be a feature. Children may be exploited to move and store drugs and money. Coercion, intimidation, violence (including sexual violence) and weapons may be involved.
Female Genital Mutilation
This extreme form of physical, sexual and emotional assault upon girls and women involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Such procedures are usually conducted on children and are a criminal offence in Scotland. FGM can be fatal and is associated with long-term physical and emotional harm.
Honour-Based Abuse and/or Forced Marriage
A forced marriage is a marriage conducted without the full and free consent of both parties and where duress is a factor. Duress can include physical, psychological, financial, sexual, and emotional abuse. Forced marriage is both a child protection and adult protection matter. Child protection processes will be considered up to the age of 18. Forced marriage may be a risk alongside other forms of so called ‘honour-based’ abuse (HBA). HBA includes practices used to control behaviour within families, communities, or other social groups, to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or ‘honour’.
Internet-Enabled Sexual Offending
Internet-enabled sexual offending includes possession, exchange and distribution of indecent images of and/or with children (IIOC); production of IIOC; sexual solicitation (online interaction with minors for sexual purposes); non-consensual sharing of sexual images; and conspiracy crimes such as working with others to distribute IIOC or to solicit children.
Child protection concerns arise when the impact of under-age sexual activity could cause significant harm. In Scotland the law states that a young child (under 13 years of age) cannot consent to any form of sexual activity (section 27 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009). An IRD must also be convened with older children (over 13 years) who may have been pressured in to sexual activities involving force or exploitation, may have had indecent images taken, suggesting abuse or exploitation, or may otherwise be at risk of significant harm relating to sexual activity.
(Not for reporting child protection concerns)
Moray Child Protection Committee
The Moray Council, Education and Social Care,
High Street, Elgin