Information & Resources

Safe Communities has collated the following information, links and resources to assist you with identifying the different types of abuse that may be prevalent in our communities, and encourage reporting where abuse has, or is occurring.


Abuse is an action that harms or injures another person.  Abuse can occur within families, organisations, online and in many other situations.Abuse may occur once, or many times.

Types of Abuse

Sexual abuse is when a person involves a child or vulnerable adult in unwanted or illegal sexual activity. Sexual abuse may not always involve physical contact. Examples include:

  • Kissing
  • Fondling
  • Masturbation
  • Penetration
  • Exposure to nudity
  • Rape
  • Exposure to pornography or prostitution

Physical indicators of sexual abuse may include:

  • Sexually transmitted diseases or infections (particularly in children)
  • Genital sores
  • Unexpected pregnancy (particularly in children)

Behavioural indicators of sexual abuse include:

  • Sexual behaviour or knowledge unusual for a child’s age
  • Overly affectionate behaviour
  • Drawing, play-acting or describing sexual acts
  • Self-destructive behaviour

Physical abuse occurs when a child or vulnerable adult suffers significant harm from injury or injuries caused by another person. Examples include:

  • Slapping
  • Hitting
  • Burning
  • Strangling
  • Using weapons to cause harm such as belts or sticks

Physical indicators of physical abuse include:

  • Bruises, bite marks or cuts
  • Burns or scalds
  • Fractures bones, dislocation or sprains (especially in children under 3 years old)

Behavioural indicators of physical abuse may include:

  • Fear of specific people or distrust in all adults
  • Wearing long sleave clothing or winter clothing in hot weather to cover up injuries
  • Explanation of the injury is not consistant with the injury itself

Emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is when someone controls or intimidates another person to cause mental harm, distress or fear. It is mainly used in an effort to control another person and  examples include:

  • Threats of violence
  • Bullying
  • Isolation
  • Constant criticism
  • Exposure to domestic violence

Physical indicators of emotional abuse includes:

  • Self-harm
  • Extreme Weight loss or gain
  • Depression

Behavioural indicators of emotional abuse may include:

  • Change in social patterns or interactions
  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Physical or social isolation

Spiritual abuse is the misuse of religious beliefs & practices to manipulate, exploit or punish another person. Examples include:

  • Threatening punishment by God
  • Denying religious rites
  • Deliberately distorting scripture
  • Withholding pastoral care

Physical indicators of spiritual abuse includes:

  • Depression
  • Distress

Behavioural indicators of spiritual abuse includes:

  • Unexplained loss of faith
  • Becoming withdrawn

Neglect means the failure to provide a child or vulnerable adult, for whom there is a duty of care, with necessities including food, clothing, shelter, hygiene, medical and dental care, school attendance, opportunities for social connection and mental stimulation, or adequate supervision.

Serious neglect can also occur if an adult fails to adequately ensure the safety of a child or vulnerable adult when exposed to dangerous or life-threatening situations.

Physical indicators of neglect include:

  • Frequent hunger
  • Low body weight
  • Lacking basic hygiene

Behavioural indicators of neglect may include:

  • Stealing or scavenging for food
  • Academic issues
  • Child being left alone without adequate care or supervision

Exploitation is the manipulation or the deceiving of another person to do something that is harmful to their interests. Examples include:

  • Taking or sharing sexual images without consent
  • Obtaining or sharing child pornography
  • Coercing a person to donate money
  • Using belongings without consent

Physical indicators of exploitation may include:

  • Depression
  • Emotional distress
  • Poor physical condition and/or lack of hygiene

Behavioural indicators of exploitation may include:

  • Age inappropriate sexual behaviour
  • Change in social patterns
  • Unexplained lack of money
  • Missing personal possessions (e.g. furniture, credit cards, vehicles, etc)


Safe Communities has provided a range of free resources for you to view online or download and print at home, or by professional printers.

When you download the artwork files, you agree and acknowledge:

  1. The Archdiocese of Hobart is the owner of the artwork, and copyright exists on the content contained within the artwork files.
  2. You will not use the artwork files for commercial gain.
  3. You will not alter, change or amend the artwork in any way, and;
  4. Use of the artwork is limited to printing and use in a school, parish, or church.

If you need more information, please contact us.

Helpful links: