A close-up of a young girl looking straight ahead with her hair swept across her face.
Abuse can take many forms. It is any behaviour that harms you or someone else.

If you're being hurt, it's ok to tell somebody

Abuse is never ok. It is never your fault. No matter what you might be going through, it’s really important that you tell somebody what is happening.
Is there an adult you trust who you can talk to about what is happening? You can also contact us here in Childline by phone, or live chat. We are always here to listen to you and support you.

How do you know if you're being abused?

There are lots of different forms of abuse. We’ve listed the four main types of abuse here, with some examples. 

Remember, these examples don’t cover everything. If you’re unsure, please talk to a trusted adult or contact Childline to find out more. 

A hand seen making a hitting motion

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is where somebody hurts your body; it may leave marks or bruises, e.g. hitting, pushing, kicking, shaking, biting or scratching.


Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is where somebody makes you get involved in sexual activity, e.g. touching genitals or breasts, kissing, showing you pornography or watching you naked.

A brain that has been affected by emotional abuse

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is hurting you with words or not properly caring for you emotionally, e.g. name calling, shouting, rejecting, ignoring or criticising you or fighting in front of you.

A white bear being neglected in a box


Neglect is when you aren't given the things you need to feel safe and secure, e.g. you're not helped when you're hurt or sick, you're not given enough food to eat or a place to live, or you're left alone for long periods of time.

What might you be feeling if you're being abused?

There are lots of different emotions you might feel if you’re being abused by somebody. These are just some examples. Remember, Childline is always here to support you if you experience any of these feelings.

Find an adult you trust

It’s important to find an adult you trust and feel safe talking to. A trusted adult may be a parent, an adult relative, an adult friend, a teacher, a coach, a school counsellor, a doctor or nurse. If you can’t find anyone in your life who you are comfortable talking to, contact Childline and we will listen to you and give you support.

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