What is abuse?

Anything that someone does to cause harm to a child or young person.

It can include:

  • Physical abuse – such as hitting, punching, burning, kicking or using weapons.
  • Sexual abuse – forcing you to have sex; touching you or making you touch them. This type of abuse can also happen online and includes making you watch pornography or forcing you to send intimate pictures.
  • Emotional abuse – making you feel scared, worthless or unloved; ignoring you; controlling who you spend time with or where you go; constantly checking where you are or who you are with.
  • Neglect - The ongoing failure to care properly for a child, for example not providing enough food, clothes or a safe place to live, or not getting medical care for you when you need it.  It is also about a lack of love, care or attention.


What to do if you are worried

If you are worried about something that is happening to you or someone you know, you don’t have to deal with it on your own – visit the Childline website for advice at www.childline.org.uk  

Or you could speak to someone you trust like a teacher, doctor, family member or key worker and they will help you to get the help you need. You can also contact or ask the trusted adult on your behalf to contact Children’s Services (Social Care)

During the day

Monday – Thursday, 8.45am – 5.15pm Friday, 8.45am – 4.45pm

Telephone: 0300 555 2866

Evenings, weekends, bank holidays 

Telephone: 0300 555 2922  or  0300 555 2836


More information about what abuse can look like and how to keep safe can be found below and on the NSPCC website www.nspcc.org.uk.

A great guide written by young people who have experienced abuse or neglect can be found on the SCIE website www.nice.org.uk