Child abuse

Child abuse and Domestic violence is a horrible and traumatic experience that many young people face not only around the UK but worldwide. It is an awful experience and often leads to further problems at a later date.

 

Types of child abuse:

 

Physical abuse

This is when someone intentionally inflicts physical harm on someone else. This can include:

  • Hitting
  • Shaking
  • Poisoning
  • Scalding

 

Emotional abuse

This is persistenly mistreating the emotional well-being of a child, leading to serious effects later in life. This can include:

  • Telling a child they are worthless, invaluable or inadequate.
  • Not giving a child the opportunity to express their views.
  • Preventing social interaction inside and outside of the family.
  • Causing children to feel frightened or in danger.

 

Sexual abuse

This is when someone is forced to engage in sexual activity against their own will. This does not always involve physical violence. Sexual abuse can include:

  • Assault by penetration (including rape and oral sex)
  • Masturbation
  • Rubbing
  • Kissing
  • Grooming
  • Involving children in looking at, or the production of, pornographic material.

 

Neglect

This is the failure of a parent to meet the basic physical and psychological needs of their children. This can lead to further negative effects in the future development of the child. Neglect can include:

  • Substance abuse such as drinking alcohol, smoking and taking illegal drugs whilst pregnant - This can lead to developmental problems to the child.
  • Failing to provide food, clothing and adequate shelter for their children - this can include exclusion from the home and abandonment.
  • Failing to protect children from physical and emotional harm and danger.
  • Failing to ensure adequate supervision of children.
  • Failing to ensure access to appropriate medical care or treatment.

 

Is it my fault?

If you are being abused by anyone, it is most certainly not your fault. Nobody has the right to hurt another person, and if someone is hurting you then they know that it is wrong. Any reasons that they feel makes hurting you right, is not acceptable. If you are being abused by someone, they might tell you that it is your fault. They are doing this because they don't want you to tell anyone what is happening. Don't believe this, it is not your fault and everyone has the right to feel safe at all times!


I'm scared!

It is completely normal to be scared if you are being abused! There are many things that you might be afraid of:

  • When the next argument or incident of abuse will happen,
  • Whether other siblings or parents will fall victim,
  • That the abuse will continue and the abuser getting away with it,
  • Friends or neighbours finding out,
  • The thoughts of living in care or being removed from your family,
  • The thoughts of your parents getting in trouble if you tell someone.

One, two, some or all of these points may apply to you, and it is completely normal. However you should never be too scared to tell anyone. Your safety is vital and if you are being abused it is important that the issues are resolved.


Who should I talk to?

If you are being abused, it is extremely important that you talk about it to someone. This could be anyone including:

  • A trusted adult, for example a teacher, family member or family friend.
  • The Police.
  • Childline - You can call them at 0800 1111 or by visiting their website at ChildLine
  • NSPCC - You can report any issues to the NSPCC.
  • You can talk to a Teenage Helpline mentor, however we will have to pass your details on to the relevant authorities. You can do that by visiting the Contact Us page, or e-mailing us at help@teenagehelpline.org.uk

How do I protect myself?

If you feel like you can't talk to anyone about the abuse, or you are scared that if you do it will get worse then your primary situation should be on protecting yourself.

If you know that doing something specific triggers the abusive behaviour, then try not to engage in those behaviours. This will help to prevent the triggering of the abusive behaviours and therefore increasing your safety.

If you are engaged in an argument with someone, or being abused, try not to fight back. This means that the argument or abusive behaviour will not escalate and will help you to stay safe.

Try to remove yourself from situations where you are potentially in danger. If you can, try and leave the house and visit a friend or family member to get away.

What are you concerns?

You could have concerns for many reasons, maybe you have noticed odd and continuous bruising or injuries on a child, maybe they have started acting in an odd way, for example talking about sex or sexual activity, or the child may talk to you about the experiences that they are having. If you have any concerns like this, and are worried for the well-being of the child then you should ensure that you tell someone about it.


Who should I tell?

There are many people you can tell, you should make sure that you collect as much information, and where possible, evidence as you can. If possible you should take pictures of any physical injuries, keep logs of what they say and anything else that you think is relevant.

When making reports you should include all the details of the child, including their name, address or school, and any other information that you feel is relevant.

People that you could contact are:

  • Your local Police and/or the local Child Protection Unit.
  • NSPCC - You can visit the NSPCC website to submit a report, or e-mail help@nspcc.org.uk.
  • C.E.O.P - You can contact C.E.O.P by visiting their website, you should use C.E.O.P if you are concerned about the online safety of a child.

Will I need to provide any follow up information?

Your report may be passed along to your local Children's Services or your local Police. It may be possible that you will be contacted for further questions or to make a statement. Usually this will be all they ask you to do, however if you are required to do anything else, instructions will be sent to you.