What’s child abuse?

When a grown-up hurts or bullies another grown-up in the same family this is called domestic abuse. If a grown-up harms a child or young person, it is called child abuse. If domestic abuse is happening in a family, the children might also be abused. However, child abuse can happen when there is no domestic abuse between the grown-ups. Child abuse can also happen between brothers and sisters.
 

Child abuse can be:

  • Physical – such as hitting, slapping, pinching, kicking
  • Emotional – bullying, calling you names, making you feel bad, hurting your pets
  • Sexual – touching your private body parts or making you touch someone else’s private parts
  •  Neglect – not giving you things you need like food and clothes, not talking to you or making a safe home for you
  • When children and young people hurt each other – with what they do or say – this is called bullying.

What can I do if I am being abused?

If this is happening to you, it’s really important to get help. The first thing to do is talk to someone you trust. Whoever’s hurting you may have told you not to tell anyone, but don’t keep it a secret.
 
Even if the person harming you says that something awful will happen if you tell, remember it’s OK to talk about what’s happened. No one has the right to hurt you or anyone you know – it’s against the law.

 

Is it my fault?

No – it’s not your fault. It’s normal to feel ashamed, guilty, angry or upset about what is happening to you, but remember, you didn’t do anything to make it happen. You are not responsible for the bad things someone else does.
 

How can I be sure it is child abuse?

It’s normal to feel confused or scared when you know, trust and love the person who’s hurting you. If a grown-up makes you feel bad or scared, hurts you or makes you do things you don’t want to, you must tell someone.
 
No one has the right to hurt you, and what they are doing is wrong. You have the right to a life that’s free from hurt, violence and abuse.