Wellingborough Amateur Swimming Club

What is Child Abuse?

It is generally acknowledged that there are four main types of abuse, physical, sexual, emotional and neglect.  Abuse may be the action or inaction by, for example a coach, volunteer helper, family member or another athlete.


Physical Abuse

As the term implies this is the hurting or injuring of a child by, for example, hitting, shaking them.  It might also occur if a child is forced to train beyond his/her capabilities, or the intensity of training disregards disabled persons impairment.


Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs when a child knowingly or unknowingly takes part in something which meets the sexual needs of the other person or persons involved. It could range form sexually suggestive comments to full intercourse.  In a sporting context it could involve inappropriate photography or videoing, for the sexual gratification of the viewer.



Emotional Abuse

This occurs when a child is not given love, help and encouragement and is constantly derided or ridiculed or even worst, ignored. Conversely, it can also occur if a child is overprotected.  In a sporting context this is present in the unrealistic expectations of parents and coaches over what a child can achieve, or the undermining of an athlete through ridicule.  Bullying is likely to come into this category. Racially and sexually abusive remarks constitute emotional abuse and it can be a feature of bullying.



This means failing to meet the children’s basic needs such as food, warmth, adequate clothing, medical attention etc. It could also mean failing to ensure they are safe or exposing them to harm.  In a sporting context it may be when an athlete’ personal or intimate requirements are ignored, particularly if they are disabled.


A more in-depth description of the above can be found in the ASA Wave Power (2004)