Abuse occurs when people mistreat or misuse other people, showing no true concern for them as individuals as they affect their well-being

Girl looking sad

People who abuse others are often close to the people they abuse, but can be strangers. Abuse can happen to anyone, however some people are more at risk of being abused: very young children, very old adults, people who may have had a difficult past, and people who may have learning, mental health or substance misuse difficulties.

Understanding what your rights are and what is right and wrong behaviour is really important in keeping yourself and others safe.

Signs of abuse

Abuse is wrong and it should never happen, but sadly it does. Abuse can take place anywhere: at home, on the street, over the internet…anywhere. Abuse can take place in different ways involving physical, sexual and emotional harm. There are many other forms of abuse too.

How to report child abuse

  • If you think you have been abused, it is important to talk to someone about it. This may be someone you know, you trust and are comfortable with. Or you can talk to a professional about it at NSPCC, StopItNow!, Social Care or the Police.
  • If you think that someone else is or has been abused, professionals should follow their local procedures. If you are a friend or relative and have any concerns about abuse, it is important to keep a record of any information that you have and get some specialist advice. You can also use the contact details above.

Top clips and stories

Extra information

Local services