Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse includes attitudes or behaviors toward a child that create serious emotional or psychological damage, and/or mental anguish. This may include active forms of abuse such as:

  • Chronically belittling
  • Shouting often at a child
  • Harsh jokes at the expense of a child
  • Isolating a child

Or passive forms of abuse, which may become a type of neglect, such as:

  • Ignoring a child’s need for emotional support and nurturing
  • Withholding kindness or affection
  • Extended periods of silence

Emotional trauma is a component of most child abuse and is often among its most serious effects and the most difficult to detect. The trauma associated with emotional abuse can affect a child’s physical and mental health long after any physical scars have healed, potentially contributing to a variety of social problems.

If emotional abuse is suspected, you should report it to DSS and law enforcement. For more information on reporting abuse visit our Recognize, Respond, Report page.