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What Is Abuse?

Child abuse can mean a lot of different things such as neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse – it’s not always easy to know if you or someone you know is being abused. But the important thing to remember is that no-one has the right to hurt you or make you do anything that feels wrong.

The different types of abuse can be described as:

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone – boys or girls. It can be if you’re being touched in a way you don’t like, being forced to have sex, being forced to look at sexual pictures or videos, being forced to watch someone do something sexual or being made to do something sexual to someone that makes you feel uncomfortable. If you are being sexually abused it’s not your fault and you’re not alone.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is when someone deliberately hurts or injures you. Hitting, kicking, beating with objects, throwing and shaking are all physical abuse, and can cause pain, cuts, bruising, broken bones and sometimes even death. No one has the right to hurt you in this way.

Emotional abuse

Emotional abuse is when someone tries to make you feel bad. This can be saying things on purpose to scare you, put you down, humiliate or hurt you.


Neglect is when you are not being looked after or supervised properly. If the people who are supposed to look after you don’t give you the important things you need, or make it hard for you to take care of yourself, then that’s neglect.

Worried about a child?

Contact: Hounslow Front Door on 020 8583 6600 (option 2)
Out of hours: After 5pm – 9am weekdays or weekends call 020 8583 2222
and ask to speak to the duty social worker

If you think you are being abused, it is important to talk someone who you trust. Or you can call and ask to speak to a social worker or call Childline.

  • Childline – A free service, open 24 hours 0800 1111. Childline gives confidential comfort, advice and protection to children and young people who are worried about any problem.
  • Getting help to overcome abuse – a quick guide for young people receiving support