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Everyone has the right to feel happy and safe, wherever they are and whoever they are with. However, sometimes people can be hurt by others, leaving them feeling unsafe. If an individual is being hurt by someone, this is called abuse. It may happen on one occasion or many times. Anyone can be a perpetrator of abuse, including a parent, carer, friend, professional or a relationship partner. There are different types of abuse, including:

Physical abuse

Is any intentional act that causes injury to an individual by means of bodily contact. For example, hitting, pinching or tampering with medication.

Sexual abuse

Involves an individual being forced to engage in sexual acts, without consent or understanding.

Psychological (emotional) abuse

Is when an individual is subjected to none-physical controlling behaviour that affects their emotional health. This can include someone being told that they are worthless or not being allowed to socialise with others.

Institutional abuse

This abuse happens in health or social care setting, such as a hospital or residential placement. It can involve an individual not having access to individual care or not being cared for in a safe and positive environment.


Involves an individual’s basic needs not being me, such as food and shelter.

Domestic abuse

Describes controlling or negative behaviours that someone displays within a relationship. These behaviours may result in physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

What might help?

  • Although you may feel isolated, you are not alone. There are people who can help and ensure you are safe. It can often be the hardest but talking to someone about your experiences is the first step. You could talk to Childline, your school Pastoral Team or the Safeguarding Team. If you can’t talk about it, you may feel more able to write it down or talk to someone over the phone.
  • Develop a strong social network. You deserve to have positive relationships, with people who will provide you will the support and care you deserve. By having supportive people around you, you may feel more able to talk to other services.
  • Emergency help: If, at any time, you feel unsafe you can call 999 and ask for help.

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