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For the purpose of these guidelines adolescents (young people, teenagers) are 14 - 17 years and are a sub-category of children (0 - 17 years).


“The intentional hurting of one person by another, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. It is usually repetitive or persistent, although some one-off attacks can have a continuing harmful effect on the victim.” Anti-Bullying Alliance Statement of Purpose UK


New Zealand’s legal definition of ‘child’ varies depending upon the legal context in which the child is being viewed (Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989; Care of Children Act 2004; Domestic Violence Act 1995).

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 1, that ‘child’ means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.

Child Abuse

“The harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person.”

Section 2 (1), Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989

Child Abuse and Neglect   

Harming or maltreatment, whether physical, sexual, emotional (also called psychological) or, by neglect. Abuse is generally seen as an act of commission or a deliberate act, whereas neglect is seen as an act of omission or a failure to do something.

The Children, Young Persons and Their Families Act 1989, section 2(1), defines child abuse as “the harming (whether physically, emotionally, or sexually), ill-treatment, abuse, neglect, or deprivation of any child or young person”.

Child Pornography

In accordance with the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ‘child pornography’ means ‘any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.’

Child Protection  

An activity or initiative or project designed to protect children from any form of harm, particularly arising from child abuse or neglect.

Emotional Abuse

The persistent emotional ill treatment of a child adversely affects their development, it may involve conveying to a child that they are worthless, unloved, and inadequate; or where inappropriate expectations are imposed upon them. In addition, it includes children who are regularly frightened, exploited or corrupted.

Family Violence

Children are always affected either emotionally or physically where there is family violence even if they are not personally injured of physically present. 


The persistent failure to meet a child’s basic physical and/or psychological needs, likely to result in the serious impairment of the child’s health or development, such as failing to provide adequate food, shelter and clothing, or neglect of, or unresponsiveness to, a child’s basic emotional needs.

The Children, Young Persons and their Families Act 1989 defines neglect as: any act or omission that results in impaired physical functioning, injury, and/or development of a child or a young person.

It may include, but is not restricted to physical neglect ... neglectful supervision ... medical neglect ... abandonment ... [and] refusal to assume parental responsibility.

Notification, Referral, Reporting

Notification, referral and reporting are all terms used to describe making a report of concern to Child, Youth and Family or the Police.

Online Grooming

Online grooming of children occurs on the Internet. Some abusers will pose as children online and make arrangements to meet with them in person.

The act of sending an electronic message with indecent content to a recipient whom the sender believes to be under 16 years of age, with the intention of procuring the recipient to engage in or submit to sexual activity with another person, including but not necessarily the sender.

Section 131B, Crimes Act 1961 [Section 131B: inserted, on 20 May 2005, by section 7 of the Crimes Amendment Act 2005 (2005 No41)].

Personnel or Staff

Personnel either employed by an organisation, or engaged by an organisation on a sub-contract basis, or engaged by an organisation on a voluntary or unpaid basis.

Physical Abuse

May involve hitting, shaking, throwing, poisoning, burning or scalding, drowning, suffocating, or otherwise causing physical harm to a child including fabricating the symptoms of, or deliberately causing, ill health to a child.

Sexual Abuse

Involves forcing or enticing a child to take part in sexual activities, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening. The activities may involve physical contact, including penetrative or non-penetrative acts and non-physical contact – for example, sexual grooming. Sexual abuse may also include involving children in looking at, or in the production of, pornographic material, or encouraging children to behave in sexually inappropriate ways.

Sexual Grooming

Refers to actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, in order to lower the child's inhibitions in preparation for child sexual abuse.

Sexual Grooming is a criminal offence.

Using Force

Using force for the purpose of disciplining a child is a criminal offence.

Section 59, Crimes Act 1961

[Section 59: substituted, on 21 June 2007, by section 5 of the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 (2007 No 18)].

Vulnerable Adults

Some adults are more vulnerable to abuse, such as those with physical disabilities or learning and development delays. 

Vulnerable Children

Children who are particularly vulnerable to abuse, such as very young children or those with physical and mental disabilities.