Abuse can mean several things. It usually means someone doing something to you or your body, that you do not like and you have not wanted them to do.

Abuse can be:

  • Physical – this can mean hitting or someone being physically intimidating
  • Verbal – someone saying or writing hurtful things
  • Sexual – a person or people kissing, touching your body or making you do any sexual that you do not want to do, or making you look at pornographic images
  • Mental/emotional – being made to feel worthless or low by frequently saying things to you that make you feel bad about yourself, confused, scared, or worried

Abuse is never acceptable and no-one deserves to be abused.

Some children do not feel able to disclose the abuse they have suffered for a long time, and many find it extremely difficult to talk about, but they are very likely to need support.

Abuse can make us behave in ways that we don’t usually behave in. The person who has been abused is likely to be dealing with extremely difficult feelings about what is happening, or what has happened.

Who can abuse young people?

People who abuse young people are not generally strangers, although this can happen. More often it is a relative, friend of the family, neighbour, baby-sitter, someone at school or another young person, maybe a brother or sister of a friend.

Getting help

It can be really hard to tell someone but there are lots people who can help if you or a friend is being abused in any way. You could talk to a teacher, youth worker, family member or there are helplines and organisations that can help you.

You might be worried about what will happen, what they will think or if they will believe you, but there are three important reasons why you should seek help:

  • Stopping the abuse
  • Starting to get over what has happened to you
  • Protecting other children and young people

Compiled from www.childline.org.uk and.