What is abuse?
There are different types of abuse.
- physical - being hurt by someone for no reason
- mental or emotional - being treated badly, such as consistently being ignored or criticised
- verbal - saying or shouting or writing horrible things
- neglect - not being looked after and kept healthy
- child sexual abuse - being touched where you shouldn’t be or forced to take part in sexual activity
Abuse is often about power and the person who abuses you uses that power to get you to do things you don’t want to do. It is hurtful either mentally or physically. Sexual abuse includes being touched, kissed or forced to have sex against your will and often by someone older than you.
Abuse isn’t always carried out by a stranger and can be someone you know, which can make it feel hard to speak out about. Because they are known to you, if your family or others close to you don’t know about the abuse, they will think it is safe to leave you with this person. This is why they need to know as soon as possible.
Abuse is always wrong. If you tell someone, they can help to make it stop.
Why you must get help
Abuse is always wrong and must be stopped. Apart from being horrible while it is happening, it can affect your life. Speaking out as soon as you can makes it less likely you will have problems later.
If you have been abused you may:
- be wary of adults
- find it hard to trust people
- have problems developing relationships
- have difficulty concentrating
- find that you are more irritable or emotional
- do worse at school
- have difficulties with trust when entering sexual relationships in the future
- have low self-esteem, become depressed or anxious
- be vulnerable to self-harm
Having one or more of these issues isn’t necessarily the result of abuse; they can be caused by a number of things. But if you know you have suffered abuse, you should talk to your GP. They can spot if you are at risk of developing any of these problems and will be able to help you.
Where you can find help
Take the first step – you have to tell someone. Start with your family, but if the abuser is known to them you might want to speak to someone else you trust, like a teacher or your GP. Even if your GP knows this person they will be able to help you and they won’t break your confidence.
If you feel you can’t talk to people you already know, call ChildLine on 0800 1111 - it is run by professionals who will know how to help you.
If you are in immediate danger call 999.
YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
Text: YM to 85258
Opening times: 24/7
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
Phone: 0800 1111
Opening times: 9am - midnight, 365 days a year
Offers support to anyone affected by crime; not only those who experience it directly, but also their friends, family and any other people involved.
Live webchat service available.
Offers specialist support for children and young people affected by crime through their website You & Co.
Phone: 08 08 16 89 111
Opening times: 24/7