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If you or someone you know has been abused or hurt, it can be very hard to talk about it and it can also be hard to know how to get out of the situation or ask for help.
Here is some advice on getting help if you or a friend are being abused, including who to talk to, getting away and safety planning. You can read about the different forms abuse can take here.
If someone has abused or is abusing you it can be very difficult to talk about it. You might feel worried about what will happen to you if you speak out. Sometimes people who have been abused can fear that they won’t be believed if they tell someone.
However, it is very important not to let this fear stop you from getting help. You could tell a trusted adult, teacher, youth worker or other family member about what’s going on so they can help make sure you’re safe.
You might find it easier to talk to someone who you do not know. There are many organisations that can offer support, such as these dedicated helplines for domestic abuse support, or if you are a young person or are worried about a young person you can visit the Childline website or call them on 0800 1111. If anyone hurts you or acts abusively towards you, tell someone you trust, and/or report it to the police.
Abuse is never justified and never a way to express love, care or affection. It’s important to get support to make sure that you are OK and so that the abuse does not continue.
It can be very difficult to imagine getting away from the person who is abusing you. Safety planning can be the very first step you take. It is a way of protecting yourself and your family from someone who is hurting you. You cannot stop a person from abusing you, only they can do that, but there are things you can do to help you stay safer. It can also help you feel more in control of the situation you’re in.
If you think a friend or someone you know is being abused, start by talking to them about it when it is safe to do so. It is a good idea to wait until you are alone with them in person, so you are not overheard by the abuser. Try to avoid messaging them as their abuser may be checking their phone.
If your friend has come to you to talk about it, listen to them and be supportive, and remind them how strong they are in confiding in you, because it takes a lot of courage to talk about abuse and violence.
Make it clear you’re there for them, share the advice on these pages and encourage them to talk to someone they trust about it, such as a family member, a friend, a teacher or the police.
Don’t be upset if they don’t want to talk to you. It can be very difficult to discuss and if they seem angry or closed-off, the chances are they are just scared.
Raising your concerns with the person could be the first step in them being able to see what their situation is really like. It’s important to make sure the person you are worried about knows you will always be there for them. It may be days, weeks or even years before they feel able to seek support they need but often it is friends who give people the strength they need to get the help they need.
It is important for you to talk to a trusted adult about your concerns, even if the person you are worried about says they don’t want or need any help. They can help you to support the person you are worried about and help you to deal with the situation. When you do this, it is possible that your friend will say that they won’t talk to you or be your friend anymore. You should still do it: their safety has to be your priority. You are not going behind their back, telling on them or interfering. If you have a real concern, you are being a good friend.
DON’T CONFRONT THE ABUSER
Never confront the person who you think is being abusive as this could put you and them in danger.
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