Difference Between Abuse and Neglect

Abuse vs Neglect

We keep hearing about abuse of substances as well as physical, mental and sexual abuse of people. Abuse is a negative word that connotes mishandling and maltreatment of individuals by other people. If a person is a victim of abuse, it is clear that he is under unpleasant circumstances. There is another word called neglect that can have harmful repercussions for the individual, especially a child. In fact, abuse and neglect are words that are mostly used for kids in the manner in which they are treated at home by their family members, including parents. In this article, we shall attempt to highlight the differences between abuse and neglect.


Though abuse of substances is very common, the is mainly used in the context of child abuse where small kids are treated in a cruel manner. Abuse can be both physical as well as mental but, in the case of small children, it is physical harm in most of the cases of abuse. Abusive language is certainly harmful and scary for the psyche of the small child, but cases beating kids in a violent manner are on the rise in households, in the country. There are many symptoms of child abuse such as bruises, cute, fractures, burns, scalds, electric shocks, even poisoning. Drugging a child also comes into the category of child abuse.


Not giving proper care, and ignoring the requirements of the child being classified as neglecting of the child and harming him, both physically as well as mentally. There is no doubt that like abuse, which is clearly brutal; neglect can inflict harm to small kids. This harm could be because of physical neglect, educational neglect, emotional neglect, and even neglecting the medical needs of the children. Adopting an indifferent attitude to a kid’s physical and emotional needs is a clear case of neglect.


What is the difference between Abuse and Neglect?

• Dereliction of responsibilities and duties by parents amounts to neglect while beating a child physically to harm him is what is classified as physical abuse.

• Abuse can be physical, emotional, or even sexual. Similarly, neglect does not only mean not looking after the physical or mental needs of a child. It could be harming him by not fulfilling his medical needs to let him suffer physically, as well.

• Physical abuse is spotted easily while neglect is a crime that is hard to spot.

• Verbal abuse is harming the emotional psyche of the child permanently while neglect also makes him feel helpless and vulnerable.

• Abuse can cause physical harm, and there are symptoms that indicate physical abuse, neglect causes more mental harm than physical harm.