Quick Exit

What is Child Abuse?

This page gives information about the types of abuse that can happen, and who you can contact if you want to talk to a professional about anything that is worrying you.

Always Remember: Abuse is Never Your Choice and is Never Your Fault

What is Abuse?

There are different kinds of abuse. These are:

Physical abuse

This is when someone physically hurts or harms a child or young person. This includes:

  • hitting
  • squeezing
  • biting
  • twisting limbs
  • burning
  • poisoning
  • violently shaking a baby

Emotional Abuse includes:

  • name calling
  • being threatened
  • being made fun of or made to feel small
  • seeing violence between people who care for you

Sexual Abuse includes:

  • being touched in a way you don’t like
  • being forced to have sex
  • be made to look at sexual pictures or videos

Neglect includes:

  • having nowhere to stay
  • not having enough food to eat
  • not having clothes that keep warm

Bullying and Discrimination

Bullying and discrimination are also forms of abuse, whether the bully is another child or young person or by an adult. Bullying includes:

  • hitting
  • taking someone's personal things
  • name-calling
  • racist bullying
  • being bullied because of being gay
  • being bullied via the Internet or by mobile phone.

Abuse creates all kinds of emotions, including feeling frightened, confused, alone, guilty, unloved, and ashamed. If something is worrying you, it is important to talk to someone you trust, any information you share will be confidential.

You can get help and advice from:

  • ChildLine website - free, confidential helpline telephone - 0800 1111
  • Frank website - national drugs helpline - telephone 0800 77 66 00
  • Kidscape website - preventing bullying of children and young people - telephone 08451 205 204
  • Missing People website - works with children and young people who runaway and their families - telephone 0500 700 700
  • Safe at Last website - South Yorkshire organisation for children and young people who run away and families - telephone 0800 781 7536
  • Think you know website - information about internet safety and how to report abuse

Getting Help to Overcome Abuse

A guide has been written by young people who have all experienced abuse or neglect. They hope that this will help others in similar situations get the help and support they need and deserve, and urge practitioners to share this with the young people they meet. 

There is a quick guide Getting help to overcome abuse and this webpage has more information:  www.nice.org.uk/about/nice-communities/social-care/quick-guides/getting-help-to-overcome-abuse.

 e-learning for 11 to 18 year olds:

Think Safe, Be Safe, Stay Safe

This course will help you understand the signs of abuse and neglect and understand when and who to report concerns to. This module is aimed at young people aged 11-18yrs who work with children or other young people for example as young volunteers, peer mentors, babysitters etc.

To access this e-learning click on the link above, self-register, then you can start straight away.


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If you are concerned about another child or young person, follow this link: Referring a safeguarding concern to Children’s Social Care

Helpful organisations:

  • Childline for advice and support to children and young people. Phone 0800 1111 or visit the Childline website.

  • Connexions Direct - information and advice for 13-19 year olds. Phone 080 800 13 2 19 or visit the Connexions Direct website.

  • Kidscape is a Children’s charitythat gives practical advice to young people about bullying and keeping safe. Visit the Kidscape website

  • The Samaritans confidential helpline for young people experiencing feelings of distress or despair – tel: 08457 90 90 90. Visit The Samaritans website

  • Youth Access – Tel: 020 8772 9900. This organisation will put you in touch with local services that offer information, advice and counselling

  • The Hideout - for young people affected by domestic abuse. Visit The Hideout website.