Our top tips!
Build a support network
It’s important to know that you’re not alone and you can speak up. Be aware that teachers will have to report any abuse due to safeguarding, so if you’re not prepared for this quite yet then confiding in a friend or family member may be best until you are ready.
Keep a phone with you at all times
You may need to call for help in an emergency situation if the abuse becomes dangerous or even life-threatening. Ensuring all emergency contacts are on speed dial may be a necessary precaution.
Always know where to get help
Some charities and organisations specialise in providing support for different types of abuse. For example, Women’s Aid assists women in an abusive relationship, Men’s Advice Line assists men in an abusive relationship, and Galop offers practical and emotional support for abuse towards members of the LGBTQ+ community.
What is abuse?
Abuse in a relationship can come in many different forms and may affect people in different ways. Some of the different kinds of abuse are:
Physical – an intentional act causing injury or trauma to the victim. This may or may not leave scars or bruising.
Sexual – any action that pressures someone to engage in or perform a sexual act they do not want to do. Just because someone does not actively say ‘no’ to sex, this does not mean that they give consent.
Emotional – non-physical behaviour such as insults, coercive behaviour, harassment (such as excessive messaging and calling), intimidation and threats, or stalking. Although this doesn’t cause physical pain, it causes emotional damage.
Financial – controlling what you decide to spend your money on, or taking control of your accounts. For example, this could involve transferring your wages from a victim’s account to their own.
Digital Abuse – the use of technology and social media to harass, stalk or intimidate a victim.
Abuse can happen to anyone at any time, but that does not mean you should suffer in silence. None of these forms of abuse are okay, even if they only occur once.
How can I tell if I'm being abused?
Abuse can come from anyone: somebody you are in a relationship with, a friend, or even a family member, such as one of your parents.
Some signs that you might be a victim of abuse are if your abuser is:
- Becoming jealous and possessive – asking for the password of your phone or reading through your private messages.
- Becoming controlling – telling you what to wear, where you can go and who you can see, constantly texting you, or checking your location.
- Playing mind games, or lowering your self-esteem – they may do this by constantly putting you down and humiliating you.
- Pressuring you into having sex, even when you don’t want to.
- Intimidating or frightening you when they are angry, using violence, shouting or any other means.
- Threatening to commit suicide if you end the relationship, or convincing you that you do not deserve anyone better than them.
If someone you know does any of these things, you should seek support as soon as possible.
Some signs of abuse
People who are possessive might isolate you and discourage your from seeing others. They will try to control your human rights, checking on you unnecessarily and demanding that you respond to their text messages or phone calls straight away. You will feel like you are losing control of your life.
Physical violence is one of the more obvious signs that you are being abused and can be easier for other people to spot. Physical violence includes anyone who purposefully tries to physically harm you in ways such as through hitting, kicking, pushing, shoving or biting. They may even use weapons.
Abusers may use threats to control victims through creating fear. Some abusers may use “empty threats” to scare you but won’t follow through, and others may follow through with their threats. They may threaten to hurt you, to hurt themselves, or even to get you into trouble if you try to report them.
It might be harder to spot sexual violence. If you have said no to somebody, they should not make any sexual advances towards you. Sexual violence includes people trying to force you to engage in sexual acts when you don’t want to. They can do this physically or through manipulation.
What if my friend is being abused?
If you’ve noticed signs that a friend may be suffering from abuse, you should start by telling your friend privately that you’ve noticed something is wrong and you’re there for them if they want to talk about anything.
It’s important not to pressure them into talking about what they’re experiencing if they’re not ready, but it’s also helpful to remind them that they do not deserve to be treated this way.
If your friend chooses to confide in you, support them as best you can and offer to come with them to their GP and help them report the assault to police if they choose to.
It is important to try and talk to your friend first if you can; reporting anything without telling them first may put them at even greater risk. Reporting abuse is, of course, the right thing to do, but you need to make sure that it is completely safe, and you might find that your friend already has a plan to get themselves out of the situation that they are in.
In either case, make sure you are there for them and that they know they can talk to you if they need to.
I think I might need some help... what do I do?
If you feel that you are being abused, it is really important to speak out and get support, no matter how scared you are feeling.
By speaking out, to whoever you may talk to, you are helping to make sure that you can get somewhere safe and away from your abuser.
If you are in this situation, make sure that you reach out to somebody as soon as possible for your own protection.
Speak to us
Being abused can be a very distressing situation. If you find yourself in any tricky situations and are struggling to cope with this, make sure you reach out to our caring mentors. Our mentors can help you with your feelings but can also help you with reporting these activities.
Speak to the Police
Any acts of abuse are an illegal activity and should be reported. This is especially important if any of the abuse is of a violent or sexual nature, but all types of abuse should be treated equally. The police will be able to help protect you from your abuser.
Speak to an adult
If you think you are being abused, it is really important to talk to an adult who you can trust. If you are being abused in a relationship or by a friend, try and speak to your parents if you can. If your parents are abusing you, be sure to reach out to another trusted adult.
What about child abuse?
Unfortunately, a large number of abuse cases are caused by parents towards their children. This abuse may fall into some of the categories mentioned above, but it could also involve neglect. Neglect is when a parent is unable or unwilling to look after their child and give them what they need.
If you are being abused by your parents, you may feel totally trapped in your home and feel like you can’t escape. It is really important that you speak to a trusted adult if you are being abused at home. This trusted adult could be somebody else in your family, a teacher or another adult that you engage with, such as at a youth club.
If you tell someone, they will be able to help you do whatever you need to do to get help and keep you safe. Even if you feel like there is nothing you can do, there are always people who you can speak to and ways to make sure the abuse stops.
If you are being abused at home, you can also speak to our mentors, who are always available to support you.