Child Emotional Abuse
It is characterized by a person subjecting, or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. A pattern of behavior that impairs a child’s emotional development or sense of self-worth. This form of abuse is almost always present when other forms of abuse are identified. It may include constant criticism, threats or rejection, as well as withholding love, support or guidance. Emotional abuse is often difficult to prove and, therefore, Child Protective services may not be able to intervene without clear evidence of harm to the child.1
Child Psychological Abuse
This is a pattern of behavior that affects a child’s sense of worth by communicating to the child that he or she is not worthy, loved or important. Psychological abuse may include harsh demands, constant criticism, threats and yelling.2 Witnessing other violent incidents such as, domestic violence or school violence is also a form of psychological abuse due to the intense fear it produces and the indirect threat to a child’s safety.
1. Child Welfare Information Gateway, “What Is Child Abuse and Neglect?” Factsheets, (2008), www.childwelfare.gov.
2. Child Welfare Information Gateway, “What Is Child Abuse and Neglect?” Factsheets, (2008), www.childwelfare.gov.