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Abuse & violence

Abuse can be many different things. It can be verbal, emotional, physical or sexual but it can also be less obvious and take the form of controlling behaviour. 

This can make it harder to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But the most important thing to know is that abuse of any kind, whoever the abuser might be, is unacceptable. No one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong and it is never your fault.

If you have experienced any form of abuse it can be very difficult to talk about it. You might feel very worried about what will happen to you if you speak out. Sometimes people who have been abused don’t know who to talk to and fear that they won't be believed if they do tell someone.

However, it is very important not to let this fear stop you from getting help. Read our advice below on what abuse is and how to get help. You can also get advice on how to help a friend who you think is being abused. Finally, if you're worried someone might see you have been on this page, find out  how to cover your tracks online.

How do I know if I’m being abused?

It’s not always easy to know if you’re being abused. Abusers are often very clever when it comes to manipulating their victims. They can try to persuade you that what they’re doing is normal, is a sign of love or that they’re really sorry for what they have done. Below are 12 things which tell you that you are being abused. This list won’t cover absolutely everything so if you are experiencing something which is not on this list but which feels wrong or upsetting, that could also be abuse.

  • You are scared of them
  • They have hurt, or threatened to hurt, you or people you care about
  • They force you to do things you don't want to do, including sexually
  • They stop you from seeing your friends, family or people who you may go to for advice such as social workers
  • They prevent you from continuing or starting school, college or from going to work
  • They constantly check up on you or follow you. They may also track you via your mobile phone and on social media
  • They wrongly accuse you of flirting or of having affairs on a regular basis
  • They get extremely jealous and possessive
  • They constantly humiliate you, or criticise or insult you, often in front of other people
  • You change your behaviour because you're afraid of what they might do or say to you
  • They deliberately destroy things that belong to you
  • They control how much money you have

If you’re not sure whether something that has happened to you is abuse or not, sometimes it can help to imagine that it happened to a friend of yours who told you about it. If you would be scared or worried about your friend if they had been treated the same way, it’s a strong sign that you are experiencing abuse and that you need to think about getting help.

Personal stories

Read the powerful true stories volunteered from young people who have experienced a form of abuse: