Other types of abuse
There is no universally agreed definition of "child abuse". The types of behaviour defined as abusive, and the range of people deemed to be perpetrators of abuse, are continually expanding. They are defined by society's changing awareness and attitudes.
For the most recent Scottish Government child protection guidance, see The Scottish Government's National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland, 2021.
Organised, multiple or institutional abuse: Abuse by organised groups of people targeting children. Such abuse can occur both as part of a network of abuse across a family or community and within institutions such as residential settings, in day care and in other provisions such as youth services, sports clubs and voluntary groups. There may also be cases of children being abused via the use of the Internet.
Child trafficking: A crime involving the movement of children for the purpose of their exploitation
Online Abuse: Any type of abuse that happens on the web, whether through social networks, playing online games or using mobile phones. Children and young people may experience cyberbullying, grooming, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or emotional abuse. Children can be at risk of online abuse from people they know, as well as from strangers. Online abuse may be part of abuse that is taking place in the real world (for example, bullying or grooming). Or it may be that the abuse only happens online (for example, persuading children to take part in sexual activity online). Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or trafficking.
Fabricated or induced illness (FII): A rare form of child abuse that occurs when a parent or carer exaggerates or deliberately causes symptoms of illness in the child. FII is also known as "Munchausen's syndrome by proxy".
Domestic abuse: Domestic abuse can seriously harm children and young people. Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships. Children living in a home where domestic abuse is happening are at risk of other types of abuse too. For more information on domestic abuse, see chapter 7.
Foetal abuse: The foetus may be damaged in utero by the mother's tobacco, alcohol or drug use or harmed by another person physically assaulting the mother.
Substance misuse: Children affected by drug abuse and addictions of parents/carers.
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): This comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. Religious, social or cultural reasons are sometimes given for FGM. However, FGM is child abuse. It's dangerous and a criminal offence. There are no medical reasons to carry out FGM. It doesn't enhance fertility and it doesn't make childbirth safer. It is used to control female sexuality and can cause severe and long-lasting damage to physical and emotional health.
Forced marriage: Marriage involving a child who is under 16 years old.