Introduction And Definitions

Definition of a Child

A child is anyone who has not yet reached their 18th birthday.
(Ref. Children Act 1989 and 2004)

Even if a child has reached 16 years of age, is living independently or is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital, or in custody in the secure estate for children and young people, does not change their status or entitlement to services or protection.
(Ref. Working Together 2015 - Glossary)


Definitions of Abuse & Neglect

Abuse and neglect are forms of maltreatment of a child.  Somebody may abuse or neglect a child by inflicting harm, or by failing to act to prevent harm.

Abuse – Any action that intentionally harms or injures another person.

Neglect – The ongoing failure to meet a child’s basic needs.  This is the most common form of child abuse.

Children may be abused in the family or in an institutional or a community setting, by those known to them or, more rarely, by others e.g. via the internet.  They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or children
(Ref. Working Together 2015 - Glossary)

Next chapter: Case Studies and change in the law