Alex's Answer

When should I ask for help

Your Question

How many times would my parents need to hit me before i have to go to someone for help? 


Hi there and welcome to Ask Alex, 


You are asking how many times a parent has to hit you before you ask for help. 


Thank you for your question, we will try to support you the best way we can.  Following the guidance of Túsla’s website, the Child and Family Agency in Ireland, physical abuse is when someone deliberately hurts a child physically or puts them at risk of being physically hurt. It may occur as a single incident or as a pattern of incidents. That means it doesn’t need to happen more than one time for you to ask for support. If you are feeling unsafe and at risk of getting hurt by a parent or any other adult, you must ask for help. A reasonable concern exists where the child’s health and/ or development is, may be, or has been damaged as a result of suspected physical abuse. 


Physical abuse can include the following: 

  • Physical punishment 

  • Beating, slapping, hitting or kicking 

  • Pushing, shaking or throwing 

  • Pinching, biting, choking or hair-pulling 

  • Use of excessive force in handling 

  • Deliberate poisoning 

  • Suffocation 

  • Fabricated/induced illness 

  • Female genital mutilation  

Physical abuse is normally dealt by the Gardaí first, as it is a criminal offence. To report to the Gardaí, you can call them on 999 or 112, if you ever feel unsafe at home or you can go to the closest Garda station. The Gardaí would afterwards contact Túsla and allocate a social worker to the case. They will evaluate the needs of your family, that can go from getting parental support to avoid the use of physical punishment, to going into care if it is not possible to keep you safe in the family home. 


We believe it would be beneficial for you to talk to someone you trust as soon as possible, who can support you in dealing with the reports and the need for them. That could be another family member, a teacher, a coach or a neighbour. Alternatively, know you can call Childline at  1800 66 66 66, talk about your concerns, and we will support you and guide you in making those reports if that is what you want to do. It is your choice what steps you would like to take.. We can also be reached through Live Chat on our website You may find this article helpful


We hope this helps somewhat. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you needed further support. We will be happy to help. 


Take care of yourself and know that you are not alone, Childline is here for you, always.


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