This guidance has been developed to assist prosecutors to provide advice to the police, to build cases and to prosecute cases of non-sexual child abuse. That is, cases against children of violence, cruelty, neglect and abduction.
Age – Anyone under 18 is defined as a child or young person. This status and entitlement to services or protection is not changed even if a child or young person is 16 and is living independently, is in further education, is a member of the armed forces, is in hospital or in custody in the secure estate.
Abuse – This is a form of maltreatment of a child or young person. Someone may abuse or neglect a child or young person by inflicting harm, or by failing to prevent harm. Children or young people may be abused in a family, or in an institutional or community setting by those known to them or, more rarely, by others (e.g. via the internet). They may be abused by an adult or adults, or another child or young person or children or young people. Separate guidelines are available for youths in the legal guidance Youth Offenders.