Recognising abuse and getting help

Being young can be the best time of your life. But growing up can be difficult if you're treated badly by the people around you. 

The below gives young people some information on abuse and neglect, and to let you know where you can get help for yourself or your friends.

What is abuse?

Abuse can be hard to recognised because it can often be by someone you think you should be able to trust. Below are some ways of recognising if you, or your friend, are being abused. 

Physical abuse

Is someone hurting you? Physical abuse is when someone purposely injures you in any way, including burning, strangling, kicking or hitting. 

For example... Martin's mother slapped him around the face for answering back and gave him a bruised cheek.

This is physical abuse. 

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is illegal and is when someone makes you do something sexual against your will, or before you are old enough to make your own decision. Sometimes sexual abuse can happen before you know what is going on. 

It can involve being forced to do any of the following things: 

  • touch another person, or be touched by another person, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, 
  • have sex, 
  • look at sexual images, 
  • watch another person do something sexual. 

An example; 

Sophie's friend's Dad often gives her a lift home, but last time he asked her if she would let him touch and kiss her as payment.  

This is sexual abuse. 

Child sexual exploitation

This is another type of abuse. It doesn't have to be in the same room as someone - it could be online.

For example...Natalie has found out that a boy she sent some photos to on the internet, showing Natalie semi-naked. is really an adult. He says that if she doesn't agree to meet him he will send the photos to her friends at school. 

This is child sexual exploitation.  

Domestic abuse, online abuse, emotional abuse, relationship abuse

Abuse in the home, or between couples of any age, is sometimes called domestic abuse or relationship abuse. 

Emotional abuse can make you feel afraid, worthless, frightened, or unhappy. Bullying is a form of emotional abuse. Emotional abuse can also happen when you witness someone being abused, for example seeing violence or domestic abuse between adults in your home. 

Some examples could be...

Sarah hears her mother being shouted at and hit by her father.  This is domestic and emotional abuse. 

Sally sends Amy messages on Facebook saying she is fat and ugly, and threatens to hurt her at school. This is online abuse. 

Jodie has a new boyfriend. He is a few years older and really good looking. He is nice to her as long as she does not go out with her friends or speak to anyone else. He gets really angry with her if he finds out she has been out without him. This is relationship abuse. 

Are you neglected? 

Neglect is another type of abuse, and could be if you aren't given basic things like food, shelter or protection. 

For example...David and Charlie are always hungry as there is never food in the house. Charlie was supposed to see an optician a year ago because of a squint, but his parents have not taken him and it is getting worse. This is neglect.

If you see something, say something!

Sometimes when young people are being abused they find it too hard to tell anyone. If abuse is happening to your friends or to you, you can get help by talking to an adult you trust. 

There are lots of people ready to help. For general advice visit

What to do

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999. 

Try not to be alone with the person who is hurting you. 

Tell an adult you trust and keep telling people until you get the help you need. 

Call Doncaster Children Services Trust on 01302 737777

Call the NSPCC helpline for advice on 0808 800 5000 or text 88858

If you work in a school or with children and would like copies of our 'Recognising abuse leaflet' please contact the communications team on 

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