Child abuse is when someone does something to you or your body that you don’t want them to do.
Abuse can mean a lot of different things. It’s not always easy to recognise if you or someone you know is being abused. The important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.
Abuse can include:
- when someone hurts or injures you on purpose, for example by hitting, kicking, burning or beating you
- when you are not being looked after or fed properly
- being made to feel bad, criticised, scared, ignored or humiliated
- when a person says horrible or hurtful things to you
- witnessing violence in the home
- when a person forces you to take part in sexual activities or encourages you to behave in sexually inappropriate ways. Sexual abuse is not when you start to think about sex with a boyfriend or girlfriend which is a normal part of growing up. Sexual abusers tend to be older than you, may be an adult, and someone in a position of power who can use that power over you to get you to do things that you probably don’t want to do.
Abuse may be done by anyone, whether a member of your family, family friend or just someone you have come into contact with.
Every type of abuse is wrong and should be stopped. The best thing you can do if you are experiencing any abuse is to tell someone you can trust as they can help to make it stop.
Abuse can make you feel hurt, sad, lonely, ashamed, dirty, confused, guilty, worried, frightened, depressed or anxious. It can also make you have low self-esteem and affect how you are in future relationships. Abuse can affect your mental health.
Abuse is very difficult to talk about, but talking to someone is the only way to get it to stop.
If you want to know more about abuse and the help you can get you might find these websites useful:
Child Line – http://www.childline.org.uk/ – or you can call Child Line anytime on 0800 1111
YoungMinds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk/
The Hide Out – http://www.thehideout.org.uk/