Defining and Identifying ‘child abuse’

1. The basic physical or psychological needs of the child or young person are not being met (neglect)

Failure to meet basic physical or psychological needs, or neglect, is the continued failure to provide a child with the basic things he or she needs for his or her proper growth and development, such as food, clothing, shelter, and adequate supervision.

Indicators of failure to meet basic physical and psychological needs

In children and young people:
In young people:
In parents or caregivers:

Indicators taken from NSW Interagency Guidelines for Child Protection Intervention, 2000

Of course, a child’s age will affect our response to a parent or caregiver’s failure to meet the child’s basic physical or psychological needs. For instance, babies and very young children are  totally dependent on adults to meet their physical and psychological needs.  They are smaller and so more physically vulnerable to neglect, are not able to talk about what is happening to them, and are less ‘visible’ in the community than children who are at school

So what does affect a parent or caregiver’s ability to meet a child’s physical and psychological needs?

Does how wealthy the parents are impact?
Does mental illness?
What about when both parents work?
Or if the parent or caregiver have a drug or alcohol problem?

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