Children and Young People
What is abuse?
Domestic abuse is when one grown-up hurts or bullies another grown-up who is or was their partner.
Domestic abuse can happen between people who are boyfriend and girlfriend or who are married. It can happen when people live together or in different houses. Usually it is the man who hurts the woman.
Although domestic abuse happens between grown-ups, children see and hear what is happening and it affects them. Children can also be hurt or bullied as part of domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse can be:
- Physical – for example, hitting, pushing, kicking
- Emotional – sayings things to frighten the other person or make them feel bad
- Sexual – making someone do sexual things that they don’t want to
- Financial – such as taking away the other person’s money, or not letting them get a job
Domestic abuse doesn’t just happen once, it’s not just an argument or a falling out. Grown-ups use domestic abuse to control other people. If someone in your family is abusive, remember it’s not your fault and it’s not the person who is being abused’s fault either.
What you can do
If you or your mum are being hurt and need help right away, you can call the police by dialling 999. You should give your name, address and telephone number and tell the police what is happening. Don’t hang up because the police will call back to make sure the call isn’t fake and this could give your dad, step-dad or mum’s boyfriend the chance to tell them everything is okay and the call was a mistake. If you can’t speak dial 55 so the police will know the call is real or leave the phone off the hook so they can hear what is going on.
The police will come to your house and talk to your mum, dad or any other adults. They may even talk to you. They should make sure you are okay and have not been hurt.
They may take away the person who was violent, shouting at or threatening your mum. Whatever happens you should remember that it is not your fault and your dad, step-dad or mum’s boyfriend/girlfriend has got themself into trouble.
If you are not in danger, the best thing you can do is speak to an adult you trust about what is happening. Maybe someone like a teacher, or perhaps a relative. You can also get in touch with an organisation like Childline (0800 1111) or the NSPCC (0808 800 5000) – calls are free and you don’t even have to give them your name.
There are lots of people who can help you and your mum – you don’t need to feel alone. Everyone has the right to be and feel safe.