Skip to main content

Am I being abused?

Abuse is never ok. Find out about the different types of abuse, signs of abuse and where to go if you need to talk to someone about what you're going through. 

If you or someone you know is facing abuse, you should tell your local police at once or dial 999.

What is abuse?

Abuse - advice hub

What is abuse?

Abuse is when a person is deliberately being hurt by someone else. This hurt can be physical or psychological. It is generally agreed that there are nine different types of abuse someone can experience:

Different forms of abuse

  • Discriminatory abuse — this is where you are being harassed, insulted or treated differently because of your race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability or religion.

  • Physical abuse — this is when you experience assault, hitting, slapping, pushing, misuse of medication, restraint or inappropriate physical sanctions.

  • Financial or material abuse — this can include theft, fraud, internet scams or property scamming.

  • Neglect — this is when your emotional, physical or medical care needs are ignored.

  • Psychological abuse — this can include threats, cyber bullying, harassment, blaming you for things or trying to control you.

  • Sexual abuse and exploitation – this is where someone is making you do sexual things that you don’t want to do.

  • Organisational abuse — if you’re staying in a care home or hospital you could be being abused if your needs are being neglected or ignored.

  • Domestic abuse — you’re being domestically abused if you’re experiencing controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading or violent behaviour at the hands of a family member, carer, partner or ex-partner.

  • Modern slavery — if you’re experiencing slavery, being trafficked or being forced to work, then you’re being abused.

Read more about the different types of abuse, including verbal, psychological, physical, sexual and hate crimes.

What are the signs of abuse?

What are the signs a child is being abused?

From physical indicators such as cuts and bruises, to more subtle things such as emotional difficulties and low self-esteem, the signs of child abuse can come in many different forms.

Perhaps the best way to know if you’re being abused is to ask yourself if you feel like you’ve been forced to do something that has violated your rights, or feels like it is wrong.

If the answer to either of those questions is yes, then you are almost certainly being abused.

Boy looks sadly out of the window

Signs of child abuse

If you're being abused, you may display the following behaviours:

  • Anxiety, depression and/or self harm

  • Taking drugs or misusing alcohol to cope with your abuse or block it from your thoughts

  • Developing an eating disorder

  • Your physical health deteriorating

  • Taking part in crime and anti-social behaviour.

Always remember, being abused is never your fault. Your experience of abuse does not define you or make you a bad person. But it can harm you if you don’t get the help you need.

If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 999.

Child abuse helplines