Psychological abuse

Psychological abuse is when a child experiences serious or ongoing behaviour by their parents or another person that may cause the child harm, and the parents do not take the necessary measures to stop the situation. This behaviour includes indifference, denigration, emotional rejection, isolation, threats, exploitation, forcing the child to work in a way that is disproportionate to their abilities, and exposure to conjugal or family violence.


Some signs:

  • The child often says they are worthless;
  • The child says they’re not allowed to have friends, and seems socially isolated;
  • The child says they feel rejected by their parents;
  • The child often talks about death (in words or in drawings);
  • The child says they’re tired and that they have to work at home;
  • The child is afraid of one of their parents or of a person that lives with them;
  • The child is often exposed to conjugal or family violence (verbal, physical or psychological);
  • the child regularly witnesses criminal activities in the home;
  • The parents frequently denigrate the child (e.g.: hurtful comparisons, negative nicknames);
  • The parents constantly threaten the child, saying they’ll abandon them or put them in foster care.


In situations where a child is the victim of psychological abuse by a person other than their parents, the DYP intervenes only when the parents do not take the necessary action to stop this abuse.


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