What is abuse?

Child abuse is when somebody, under 18, is being harmed. There are different types of abuse, these can often come under a few headings, for example, psychological or emotional, neglect, physical and sexual.

Abuse can happen to anybody.

Abuse can be experienced in many settings, for example, at home, school, clubs, in the community or online.

Abuse can be carried out by anybody regardless of their age, sex or background, for example it could be an adult or a child of any age, male or female.

It does not matter who carries out the abuse, it is still wrong and will be taken seriously.

Psychological or Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is where a child is made to feel badly about themselves, the child may doubt themselves or feel everything they do is wrong. The child may feel they do not fit in at home, socially or at school and this worsens over time leaving the child with negative thoughts about themselves and who they are.

Types of emotional abuse can be:

You feel constantly criticised and blamed

You are made to feel inadequate, worthless or unloved

You are being bullied in school, home, where you live or over the internet

You see things in your home happening to others

You are frightened or sad at home or elsewhere

You are belittled for, or not allowed to share, your opinion or views

This is not all the examples of emotional abuse, what you are experiencing could be emotional abuse.


Neglect is when a child’s basic needs are not met by those who should care for them. Every child is entitled to have their basic needs met, these include:

Enough food every day to be healthy and nourished

Supervision by an adult appropriate for the child’s age

Access to a doctor, dentist, eye tests and any other medical support required

A safe and secure home

Access to a bathroom and clean clothes

Having emotional, as well as physical, needs met


This is not all the examples of neglect, what you are experiencing could be neglect.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is when somebody hurts a child deliberately to inflict fear and pain. Types of physical abuse can be:








Hair pulling

Leaving bruises, marks, cuts, blisters or deliberately making you feel unwell.

This is not all the examples of physical abuse, what you are experiencing could be physical abuse.

Sexual abuse

According to the Metropolitan Police “Sexual abuse is when a child is enticed or forced to take part in sexual activities. This kind of abuse does not always involve a high level of violence and the child may or may not be aware of what is happening. The abuse may be committed by adult men and women, or by other children”.

Types of sexual abuse can be:

Encouraging a child to take part in any type of sexual activity.

Encouraging a child to watch sexual activity

Being shown books, magazines or films that contain sexual activity or images

Encouraging a child to make sexually explicit images or films

Grooming a child with the intent of carrying out sexual abuse

Sexual harassment, such as, sexual comments, remarks, jokes and online sexual harassment, which may be standalone or part of a broader pattern of abuse

This is not all the examples of sexual abuse, what you are experiencing could be sexual abuse.

How to seek support

If you are experiencing any type of abuse we want to help you make it stop. There are lots of ways to get help:

You can tell any adult you trust

You can complete the self-referral on this website

Go to your GP



You can call the police on 111 and a specially trained officer will help you


It might be really scary to imagine telling anybody about what is happening to you, or someone you care about, especially if you have been told to keep it a secret.

You do not have to keep a secret for anyone.

Please reach out, this can be stopped.


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