What is Child Abuse

It's not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused, but the important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong. All forms of abuse can happen as a single event or over a longer period of time. It can happen to anyone – boys and girls of all ages living anywhere – and abusers can be anyone – boys and girls, adults of all ages living anywhere, people you know and strangers. If you are being abused it's not your fault and you're not alone. If you or someone you know is being abused in any way, then the most important thing to do is talk to someone about it. You can call Child Helpline Cambodia anytime on 1280. There are four types of child abuse.

Physical Abuse

Is when someone deliberately hurts or injures you. This can include hitting, kicking, hair pulling, beating with objects, throwing and shaking, and can cause pain, cuts, bruising, broken bones and sometimes even death.

Sexual Abuse

Is when you are pressured, forced or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with a person – this can be an adult or another young person. This can include kissing, touching the young person's genitals (private parts) or breasts, intercourse or oral sex. Sexual abuse is when:

  • you're being touched in a way you don't like without giving permission
  • you're being forced to have sex (intercourse)
  • you're forced to look at sexual pictures or videos
  • you're made to watch someone do something sexual. This can include someone showing their private parts to you
  • you're made to do something sexual to someone that feels uncomfortable or wrong


Is when you are not getting the important things you need, or you’re not being looked after properly by your parents or carers. Being looked after properly means that you have access to these things when you need them:

  • clean, warm clothes or shoes
  • comfort and affection
  • enough to eat and drink
  • protection and guidance to keep you away from dangerous situations
  • somewhere safe, warm and comfortable to sleep
  • help when you're sick or you've been hurt
  • support with getting your education

Being looked after properly also means that you are not left alone for a long time, or have to spend a lot of time looking after other people in your family without getting any support from an adult.

Emotional Abuse

Is when someone says or does something that makes you feel bad about yourself, or that hurts your feelings on purpose. If someone makes you scared, sad or upset – that’s emotional abuse. Some things that could be emotional abuse are:

  • shouting at you or calling you nasty names
  • putting you down or saying you aren’t good enough
  • ignoring you, not talking to you or leaving you out of things
  • saying or doing things that make you feel bad about yourself
  • pushing you away, not showing you affection or making you feel like you don’t belong in the family or group
  • making you do things that you are not your responsibility, like caring for your brothers and sisters
  • treating you differently from your brothers or sisters
  • trying to control you
  • putting you in dangerous situations or making you see things that are distressing, like domestic violence or drug or alcohol misuse
  • stopping you from having friends

You can call Child Helpline Cambodia anytime for free on 1280 if you would like to receive emotional support or further information on this subject. Thank you to ChildLine UK for allowing us to adapt some information from their website for this page.