Child Abuse & Violence

Types of Child Abuse

  1. Physical Abuse
    1. Slapping/Kicking
    2. Beating with stave/stick
    3. Pushing
    4. Shaking
  2. Sexual Abuse
    1. Sexual Assault
    2. Making the child fondle private parts
    3. Making the child exhibit private body parts
    4. Exhibiting private body parts to the child
    5. Photographing a child in the nude
    6. Sexual advances
    7. Forcible kissing
    8. Forcing child to view pornographic material
  3. Emotional Abuse
    1. Humiliation and harsh treatment by ignoring, shouting or speaking rudely affecting the self esteem of the child
    2. Name calling and use of abusive language
    3. Comparison between siblings and other children
  4. Child Neglect (Girl Child Neglect)
    1. Lack of attention to the girl child
    2. Less share of food in the family
    3. Sibling care by girl child
    4. Gender discrimination

Some of the indicator of Child Abuse

  1. Physical Abuse
    1. Unusual bruises, marks on the body of child that may suggest the use of an instrument
    2. Burns on the body of the child such as a cigarette burn etc.
    3. Behaviour extremes such as withdrawal, aggression, depression etc.
    4. Inappropriate or excessive fear of caretaker
    5. Running away from home, antisocial behaviour
    6. Inconsistent explanation of the injury
    7. Unusual shyness, weariness of physical contact
  2. Sexual Abuse
    1. Torn stained, bloody underclothes
    2. Frequent unexplained urinary and other infections of the private parts , sexually transmitted diseases
    3. Victims disclosure of sexual abuse
    4. Disturbed sleep patterns
    5. Seductive behaviour, detailed knowledge of sex as compared to other children of the similar age
    6. Sudden decline in school performance
    7. Difficulty in walking or sitting
  3. Emotional Abuse
    1. Eating disorders
    2. Speech disorders
    3. Weight or height substantially below normal
    4. Cruel behaviour, seeming to get pleasure in hurting other children, animals
    5. Behavioural extremes- overly compliant – demanding

Cause for Concern

The following data is extracted from the report 'Study on child abuse: India 2007'. For the purpose of study, the country was divided into six zones – North, South, East, Wes , Central and North-east. The following data are from thirteen states. The data was collected for approximately six months. The age group of children who participated for the research ranged between five to eighteen years.

Statistical Data for Physical Abuse

S. No. Title Percentage for Delhi state Highest Percentage among the states included for research Lowest percentage among the states included for research
1. Children reporting physical abuse in one or more situation 83.12% 84.65% 51.20%
2. Physical abuse reported by boys 91.04%* 91.04% 47.61%
3. Physical abuse reported by girls 72.54% 84.23% 49.69%
4. Children reporting physical abuse between the age of 5- 12 years 50.30% 59.73% 33.83%
5. Physical abuse reported by children in the family environment Girls: 35.71%;
Boys: 64.29%
Girls : 60.36%
Boys: 80%
Girls: 20%
Boys: 39.64%
6. Physical abuse in the form of corporal punishment 69.11% 99.56% 0.44%

Source: Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India 2007

Statistical data for Sexual Abuse

S. No. Title Percentage for Delhi State Highest percentage among the states included in the research Lowest percentage among the states included for research
1. Reporting of sexual abuse Boys: 65.64%
Girls: 34.36%
Boys: 65.64%
Girls: 63.41%
Boys: 36.59%
Girls: 34.36%
2. Reporting of sexual assault 14.77% 14.77% 0.40%
3. Children reporting sexual assault between the age group of 5-12 years 21.68% 50.00% 21.05%
4. Children between 5-12 years forced to exhibit private body parts 40.86% 50.00% 13.24%
5. Children between 5-12 years reporting photographed in nude 52.71% 66.67% 14.29%
6. Children between 5-12 years reporting forcible kissing 48.46% 56.22% 15.00%
7. Children between 5-12 years reporting sexual abuse during travel situation 44.11% 48.21% 9.85%
8. Children between 5-12 years reporting sexual abuse during marriage situation 48.07% 48.84% 15.56%

Source: Ministry of Women and Child Development; Government of India: 2007

What to do if you suspect a child is being abused?

Above mentioned are some of the symptoms, however sometimes the symptoms may be caused by reasons other than child abuse. It is important that a professional is involved as soon as possible to assess the situation of the child.

Following steps may be followed if you suspect a child is being abused:

  1. Call 1091, it's a toll free number and you may request for your confidentiality to be maintained.
  2. Refer a child to a professional such as the social worker, police, psychologists etc. The professional can help in assessing the situation and respond to the child needs and family needs. Referrals can be made to the Special Police Juvenile Units in every district and/or to the partner NGOs working with the police. The contact details are available on the website.
  3. Avoid asking the child leading questions.
  4. Listen as much as to the child and respond sensitively.
  5. Do not make false promises or lie to the child.
  6. Do not blame and tell him/her that he/she is not to blame, accuse the child or show disbelief to what the child is saying
  7. Do not talk negatively about the abuser in front of the child


  1., accessed on 23 March 2010
  2. Ministry of Women and Child Development; Study on Child Abuse: India 2007, New Delhi