Pat's Answer

Would it count as abuse if my dad beat me once when I was 11?

Your Question

Would it count as abuse if my dad beat me once when I was 11? 


Hello and welcome to Ask Pat.   

Thank you for your question, it is very important to us.   

We are very sorry you experienced that, and we can see how confusing it can be to determine if you were or were not a victim of abuse.  

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency has a section in its website with definitions that could help answer your question. It starts saying: “Child abuse can be categorised into four different types: neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. A child may be subjected to one or more forms of abuse at any given time. Abuse and neglect can occur within the family, in the community or in an institutional setting.” You are talking about being beaten, and that would be placed into the physical category, for which the definition is the following: “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. 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.” Following this guideline, even if it was a one-time thing, it could be considered physical abuse. 

This same agency takes care of keeping children and young people in Ireland safe. If you feel unsafe or are at risk of being hurt, you can call Tusla on 0818 776 315 from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. If you are in immediate danger, you should call An Garda Siochana on 112 or 999. 

You have the right to feel safe and happy in your home and no one has the right to hurt you in any way. You also have the right to get help and feel supported.  Is there an adult in your life that you trust that you would feel comfortable telling? It could be an aunt or uncle, a teacher, a school counsellor. It’s important that you get the help that you deserve.   

Childline are also here for you any day of the year, at any time. You can contact the Childline team by phone 1800 66 66 66, text 50101 or by chatting online at We will always listen, never judge and would love to chat with you.   

Remember, you do not have to go through this alone. There is support out there and people who want to help you.   

We hope this answer helps you and we hope to hear from you soon. 

Mind yourself,   


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