Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Definition of Harm to Children

The Children First Act, 2015 is the legal context for Child Safeguarding Statements.

As defined in the Children First Act, 2015, “harm” means, in relation to a child

(a)        assault, ill-treatment, or neglect of the child in a manner that seriously affects or is likely to seriously affect the child’s health, development, or welfare, or

(b)        sexual abuse of the child, whether caused by a single act, omission or circumstance or a series or combination of acts, omissions, or circumstances, or otherwise.

This definition is understood as the harm caused to children by physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. In the context of safeguarding, it may also relate to the bullying of children, child trafficking and or sexual exploitation, or the harm caused to children through the misuse of digital technology or on internet platforms.

More information on types of abuse and how to recognise abuse can be found here and information for online safety here .


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