Suing parents for Emotional Abuse (A guide + coping tips)

This brief guide will explore the topic, “ Suing parents for emotional abuse”, further discuss the topic child abuse, types of child abuse, red flags of child abuse, a detail of emotional abuse including the signs and impacts and then we will explore some of the frequently asked questions concerning the topic.

Suing parents for emotional abuse because:

  • Emotional abuse can have severe impact on child’s emotional well being
  • It can be challenging and tough for the children to bear with
  • It is legal and accepted by law
  • Emotional abuse can be draining for the child’s growth
  • Child grow up too violent being
  • Make the child vulnerable to mental illnesses

Child Abuse

Child Abuse is a situation where the parents or the caregiver of the child either through their action or through other means causes death, injury as well as emotional risk for the child. And this can have a detrimental effect on the child be it their psychological health, mental health as well as for physical health to some extent.

Each year, more than 3 millions report of child abuse are made and it often occurs in all kinds of families. 

In the following family types, there are reported case of abuse in children:

  • Family with financial difficulties and problem 
  • Dealing with a single parent
  • Divorce, Separated and Widowed Family
  • Family struggling with substance use

Child abuse is also a parental abuse which is one of the most prevalent and common conditions effecting globally. In severe cases, there are extreme violence as well as the murder of the child.

Types of Child Abuse

There are different kinds of child abuse and each child are subject to different kinds of abuse however it is not that every child goes through parental abuse. Most of the children who are a victim of abuse are those belonging to separated and divorce families, families who are struggling with extreme substance use and families with financial difficulties.

Some of the major types of child abuse are:

Physical Abuse

It is a type of child abuse where the caregiver or their immediate parents cause any kind of physical injury which can be intentional as well as accidental to the child.  28.3% of the child are physically abused.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is a type of child abuse where the adult uses their child or others for sexual purposes and gratification. They often engage in such sexual acts with children who are older or who they find more interesting and powerful than other children of their age group.

It was reported that around 20.7% of adults confessed that they were once sexually abused in childhood.

Emotional Abuse

When the caregiver or the parents harm their children’s social and mental development or cause severe harm to their emotional development, it is known as emotional abuse. 

Sustained and persistent emotional abuse of the child results in severe harm as well as damage to the child.`

Child Neglect

It is a type of abuse although it doesn’t involve abusing the child directly. This type of neglect is when the caregiver doesn’t spend time with their child for care, supervision and support. Children remain neglected and left out from their parent’s love and affection.

Substance Abuse

It is the prenatal use of illegal drugs that can severely harm the child. The development of substance abuse results in severe developmental delay and impairment in the child. Abusing drugs also results in the impairment of a person’s ability to care for the child.

It also includes medical neglect, educational neglect and inadequate supervision. 

These are some of the major types of child abuse or parental abuse, in case of any kind of such abuse in children or in the relationship shared between parents and their offsprings, getting help is the ideal option.

Red flags of child abuse and negelct

There are certain indicators that are severe and strong enough that shouldn’t be neglected.

These are:

  • Stealing of money and others belonging
  • Lack of need for medical care
  • Abuses pet and animal
  • Hard time walking and sitting around
  • Running away from home
  • Epsiodes of suicide attempts
  • Scars on body and injuries

Emotional Abuse

It is a type of child abuse where the child is repeatedly looked down and made to feel unloved, worthless and helpless. This is also known as Verbal Abuse or Psychological abuse since it involves constant rejection, teasing, bullying and exposure to acts of violence.

The impact of emotional abuse on the child is as harmful as physical abuse such as the child’s self-esteem, wellbeing etc.

There are different circumstances or episodes of emotional abuse in a child. A single episode of emotional abuse can cause great harm in the children moreover, the accumulated effect of such abuse leaves a lasting effect on the growth and wellbeing of the child.

Some examples of emotional abuse include:

  • Rejecting and Ignoring the child
  • Forcing a child to do those things that they are scared of
  • Physical as well as social isolation of the child
  • Criticism, humiliation and blaming the child constantly
  • Telling the child that they are not enough and unloved
  • Belittling the child
  • Having excessive and unrealistic expectation from the child
  • Restricting the child from asking a question and their curiosity
  • Maltreatment of the child 
  • Exposing the child to domestic violence in the family
  • Not appreciating the child’s effort and achievement 
  • Name-calling the child
  • Insulting the child

These are some of the major examples of emotional abuse that a child faced from their caregiver as well as from their parents which can have a lasting impact on the child.

Signs of emotional abuse in child

There are different signs of emotional abuse exhibited by the child as well as the parents.

Some of the signs shown by the child who faces emotional abuse in their family are:

  • They are fearful and scared of their parents
  • Talk low and bad about themselves 
  • Emotionally immature
  • They exhibit a change in speech and often stutter
  • There are behavioural change in the child
  • Often says they hate their parents
  • Prefer not to stay home

These are few of the signs of an emotionally abused child. One should take serious note of such symptoms that persist in the child failing to which will result in the disturbance of a child’s mental as well as emotional wellbeing.

Signs of parents who emotionally abuse their children are:

  • They show no regards to their children
  • Talk bad about their child
  • Prefer not to express their love and affection to a child physically
  • Don’t pay attention to the child’s medical needs
  • Neglect need of the child

Impacts of Emotional Abuse

Children and youth who experience range of psychological as well as emotional problem and abuse results in certain impact such are:

  • There is unhealthy coping habits and mechanism 
  • Mental Health related disorders
  • Inability to trust as well as difficulty in forming relationship
  • Aggression and Antisocial behaviours
  • Sleep related disorders
  • High risk in sexual disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • Low in confidence as well toefl worth
  • High rate of alcohol as well as drug use

So, these are the major impacts associated with psychological as well as emotional abuse in the child.

Suing parents for Emotional Abuse

If the child experiences severe abuse as well as harm from their parents or caregivers, there are chances and the option to sue them. And once you crossed the age of 18, there is the privilege to report to legal guardian for the abuse and torture you faced. However, in case of children below the age of 18, they need a legal guardian to look into that matter.

Abuse claim of a child includes physcial abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuses as well as neglect.

Identification of the abuse and associated symptoms in a child often begins in school thus teachers are the first and the immediate person to suspect such behaviour and symptoms in the child. Children behave and exhibit noticeable and notable mood swings as well as change in their behaviour. 

The victim of child abuse can claim against it to Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, CICA, other than that, they also sue to the local authority including social services, or other associated body who can intervene into that matter and help those children who are vulnerable and are at greater risk.

Since suing, which is a legal action, usually is a lengthy and expensive process, one should take note of all the limitations and barriers beforehand.

Some of the process includes:

  • Obtaining a guardian to assist throughout the process of suing specially if the child is below the age of 18. Children are not allowed to speak against their parents to a lawyer if they don’t have a proper guardian. In such cases, school counsellors are always a better option.
  • Figuring out the limitation of case is also important and the statute of limitation of case. Children who are below 18 should have to wait till they cross 18 to report and sue their parents against abuse while those who are 18 have three years to bring a lawsuit.
  • Looking for an attorney to represent oneself in another way to report the case of abuse. 
  • No lawsuit will be reliable and justifiable without proper evidence. Thus, one should have evidence of abuse including photographs, videotapes or medical records. Testimony from their school teacher and authorities also help in speaking against the reported case of abuse. 
  • Working with lawyer about the case can ease the process of suing parents for reported child abuse. 

These are some of the ways and the procedures for suing parents in case of serious and severe child abuse.

FAQs: Suing parents for emotional abuse

Can you sue for emotional abuse?

Yes, one can sue for emotional abuse, however whether a desired action is taken or not depends on the situation.

Can You Sue Your Parents for childhood trauma?

Yes, lawsuit does permit the child to sue their parents for cases of child abuse and seevere harm to the child.

What do you do with an emotionally abusive parent?

Dealing with emotionally abusive parents can be challenging and tough, however one can manage it by staying calm when abuse is happening, identifying the pattern of abuse, expressing one’s emotions and talking to elders and friends.

What’s an example of emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse, yelling on the child by parents, rejection and gaslighting. 

How do you prove emotional distress?

Emotional distress can be proved through testimony, documentation and other related and reliable evidence during the accident or event.


This brief guide explored the topic, “ Suing parents for emotional abuse”, further discussed the topic child abuse, types of child abuse, red flags of child abuse, a detail of emotional abuse including the signs and impacts and then we explored some of the frequently asked questions concerning the topic.

Links for more information and details of it,abuse%2C%20exploitation%20and%20emotional%20abuse.


Gueli, C. R. (2019). Child Abuse and Neglect: All About Victim’s Rights and Restitution. injury claim coach.

Hinders, D. (n.d.). How to Sue a Parent for Past Physical & Mental Abuse. legal beagle.

Miller, S. V. (2017). Abusive parents, don’t skip this page. deccan chronicle.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!