What effect can emotional abuse have on a child’s development?
Under 1 minute read
The effect that emotional abuse has on a child’s emotional development varies. It may have short and longer term effects.
Examples of how a child may be affected by emotional abuse include them suffering:
- Loss of confidence and a lack of self esteem
- Mental ill-health such as anxiety or depression or suicidal thoughts
- Difficulties controlling anger
- Difficulties forming relationships and trusting others.
What help can families get if they are struggling to keep their child emotionally safe and well?
A family who is starting to struggle to meet their child’s emotional needs can request help and support. Click on the drop downs below to find out more about two important ways this may be available.
Government statutory guidance called Working Together 2018 says practitioners working with families should be alert to families who may need early help services (see Working Together 2018, page 13 at paragraph 4).
Early help aims for agencies to work together to provide support as soon as problems emerge. This is because tackling a problem early can stop things getting worse. Education (schools, nurseries), housing, and health services are all examples of agencies. Early Help can be given to a family with a child up to age 18. So, the child may be a baby, toddler, at primary school or a teenager.
Social workers are not involved in early help assessments or providing early help services. But sometimes they ask early help services to provide assistance to children and families they are working with.
See our Early help page for more information.
Child in need
There is a general legal duty on children’s services departments to work to keep children safe, well cared for and, at home unless this would place them at risk. To help achieve this, children’s services must provide a range and level of services in their local area to help children ‘in need’. And to help their families (see section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989).
A child in need is a child who needs extra support or services to help them achieve or maintain ‘a reasonable standard of health or development’ (see section 17(1) of the Children Act 1989. All disabled children are classed as children in need.
Where a child or family may need this extra support, children’s services should carry out a child in need assessment. This aims to:
- Work out if the child is in need or not
- Decide whether the child is in need enough to get services in that local area
- Find out what support and services may most help the child and their family.
Local children’s services departments have their own measures for deciding which children are in need enough to get services.
See our Child in need page for important information about how to request a child in need assessment and what is involved.