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Council Services:

Child Abuse

We can help if:

  • You are being mistreated or abused by someone and you’re not sure what to do
  • You think another child/young person is being mistreated or abused
  • You need advice or need to talk to someone

What is child abuse or mistreatment?

Physical abuse

Sometimes you might be physically hurt by an adult (like being beaten, punched, kicked, slapped, scalded with hot water or punished in other ways that cause physical harm). And, if it wasn’t an accident that can only mean that you are being abused. Child abuse means that a person is deliberately being cruel or violent towards you.

Sexual abuse

sometimes someone might touch you in ways you do not like. No one has the right to touch you in a bad way; or force you to touch them or other people. Some adults do some very bad things to children like trying to use them for sex. These people are sometimes called “paedophiles”.

You should always tell someone if another person is trying to get you involved in anything of a sexual nature. This might also include things which do not involve touching (like involving you in looking at or making sexual images, watching sexual activity or encouraging you to act in sexually inappropriate ways.

Sexual abuse is not just done by adult males. Women can also carry out sexual abuse, as can other children.

Emotional abuse

sometimes adults may persistently say or do cruel things intended to upset you (like putting you down all the time or making you feel worthless; or left out). Or you might see or hear other people being hurt. This could leave you feeling very unhappy and not cared for, this is emotional abuse.


when people talk about neglect they mean when a child is not getting the things they need, like somewhere safe and warm to live; somewhere to learn and develop; somewhere you will be cared for when you are not feeling well; somewhere you will get enough to eat; somewhere you will be properly looked after; and, not be ignored. Neglect often happens when children are left to care for themselves or care for others such as brothers and sisters all the time.

What about bullying?

Bullying can make you just as unhappy as if you are being abused in some other way. Being called names, being teased, being pushed and pulled about, being hit or attacked, being threatened, having your bag or possessions taken or thrown around, having bad things said about you, being ignored or left out, being forced to hand over money or possessions or being picked on all the time for being different are all things likely to make children extremely unhappy. (links to bullying, self harm and e-safety)

You should always tell someone, like an adult who you trust or you can confidentially talk to us or talk to one of the many independent organisations.

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Last updated: 2 June 2017

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