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Problems

Child abuse

This section includes information and support for:

Children and young people being abused

If you are a child or young person who is being abused it is important that you talk to someone you trust and get support and help for what is happening. If you don't the abuse will continue, perhaps for many years.

You may feel frightened, dirty, confused, angry and may feel you are to blame in some way for what is happening.

Remember, the abuse is NEVER your fault, the adult is to blame.

You may feel that nobody will believe you but you will find that there are people who are willing to listen, to give you support and help and who will believe you.

Talk to your parents - if for any reason you feel you cannot do this then think about who you could talk to - perhaps a teacher at school, a youth worker, a family member, a friend, a helpline.

If it is your parent who is abusing you I recognise how difficult it is for you to speak out because part of you may hate your parent yet part of you may still love your parent. It is possible to still love your parent but hate what he/she is doing to you.

Your parent may be telling you that this is normal - no it isn't

Your parent may be saying this is what he/she is doing to show you love - no it isn't love - it is abuse, it is wrong, it is damaging and it is against the law.

Your parent may be threatening you not to tell - but if you don't tell the abuse will continue - if you do tell and get help you can be protected from further threats. Your parent may tell you that nobody will believe you - yes people will believe you - if the first person you tell doesn't believe you then find someone else to tell and keep telling until someone does believe you.

You may not want to tell because you don't want to get your parent into trouble - however, if your parent is abusing you he/she needs help - not only might they be abusing you but they may also be abusing other children/young people. It is only by telling that your parent can be given the help they need and face up to the consequences of their actions.

It takes a lot of courage and strength to speak out but there are people who will help you with this and support you so you don't have to go through this on your own.

And REMEMBER:

  • Nobody has a right to touch your body, particularly the private parts of your body and if anyone (even if it is someone you know) tries to touch you in a way which makes you feel uncomfortable, frightened, confused, say NO in a loud voice and tell an adult who you can trust. If the person you tell does not believe you find another adult you can trust until someone does believe you.
  • It can feel really good to have hugs and kisses from people you like but this is your choice. You don't have to hug or kiss anyone you don't want to or allow them to hug or kiss you.
  • No adult should ever tell you to keep hugs, kisses, touches a secret and if anyone does you must tell an adult you trust immediately.
  • If anyone is trying to hurt you shout no as loudly as you can and keep shouting - run away if you can towards an adult and ask for help, if nobody is around and there are shops near you run into the shop and tell the shopkeeper what has happened.
  • Never talk to strangers or accept sweets or toys from strangers - if any stranger does approach you tell an adult straight away.
  • If your mum/dad or person who normally collects you from school isn't there and a stranger says they have been sent to collect you never go with the stranger - go back into the class and tell the teacher.
  • Never play in the dark or places where there are not many people around.
  • Always tell your parents where you are going and what time you will be back. If you are going to be late always let your parents know.
  • Don't walk home from school/discos, youth club etc. on your own - always go with a friend and better still - a group of friends.
  • If a car pulls up and the driver asks for directions never go up to the car - ignore the driver and walk on - if the driver follows you immediately go up to an adult or into a shop.
  • Make sure you know your name, address and phone number.
  • If you ever need help when you are out try and find a policeman/woman, traffic warden, security guard or an adult with children if you can or go straight into a shop and tell the shopkeeper you need help.
  • Never arrange to meet anyone over the internet. There are some adults who pretend they are children or a young person to try and trick you into meeting up. Never give your real name, or your address or email address over the internet or your phone number.
  • Always stay with a friend or a group of friends if possible when you are in busy places, amusement arcades, swimming pools, shopping centres, funfairs, playgrounds etc. If you ever feel that someone is following you around tell an adult/member of staff.

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The organisations below all give help, information and advice to children and young people

  • 18 and Under
    0800 731 4080
    www.18u.org.uk
    Support and information for young people under 18 who have experienced any type of abuse. (based in Scotland)

  • Coram Voice:
    0808 800 5792

    www.coramvoice.org.uk
    Telephone advice, information and advocacy services for children in care.

  • Childline:
    0800 1111

    www.childline.org.uk
    A confidential 24hr free telephone helpline

  • Get Connected:
    0808 808 4994
    www.getconnected.org.uk
    Free telephone and email helpline finding young people the best help whatever the problem. Can connect a child or young person to any UK helpline where appropriate

  • Muslim Youth Helpline:
    0808 808 2008
    (Area served LONDON)
    help@myh.org.uk
    www.myh.org.uk
    Helpline providing culturally sensitive support to Muslim youth under the age of 25. Outreach services, including family mediation, face to face counselling and befriending

  • National Youth Advocacy Service:
    0808 808 1001

    help@nyas.net
    www.nyas.net
    Provides information, advice, advocacy and legal representation to young people up to the age of 25 through a network of advocates through England and Wales

  • SupportLine:
    01708 765200

    info@supportline.org.uk
    A confidential telephone helpline providing emotional support and befriending. SupportLine also keeps details of counsellors and organisations around the UK

    See also our section on Support for Children and Young People.

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Useful websites

Parents/carers of sexually abused children

If you are a parent who has discovered that your child has been abused you will be experiencing many different emotions - shock, anger, hatred, guilt, numbness, disbelief, confusion.

If your partner was the person who abused your child you will also be trying to come to terms with the fact that someone you lived with and loved and thought you knew and trusted has done something so damaging and horrific that there was a side to this person that you knew nothing about.

You may have feelings of guilt that you did not know your child was being abused and were not there to protect him/her. However, people who abuse children are cunning, devious, manipulative, and skilful at hiding their tracks and covering up what they are doing - you cannot blame yourself for being taken in by an abuser.

It will not help going over the past and blaming yourself - your child will need you to help them to feel safe, loved, secure, and for you to be strong for them to help them in their recovery and healing. It is important at this time to also get some support for yourself and someone who you can talk to about the feelings you have inside you. Make sure that your child has someone to talk to and help them to work through what has happened but keep doing things together you enjoy and try not to allow the abuse to dominate your lives.

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Agencies providing support for parents/carers of sexually abused children

  • MOSAC - Supporting Non Abusing Parents/Carers of Sexually Abused Children:
    0800 980 1958

    www.mosac.org.uk
    National helpline for parents of children who have been sexually abused. Counselling and art therapy by appointment. Groups for parents of children who have been sexually abused. Greenwich based

  • 0113 240 5226
    www.paceuk.info
    PACE works alongside parents and carers of children who are - or are at risk of being - sexually exploited by perpetrators external to the family. Offs one to one telephone support, national and local meet-ups with other affected parents and information to how parents can work in partnership with Police and social care.
  • Parents Protect
    0808 9000 100
    www.parentsprotect.co.uk
    A child protection campaign that delivers training to parents, carers and professionals and also operates an educative website designed to raise awareness to child sexual abuse, answer any questions you may have and give the information you need to protect children. The website also features an e-learning programme that provides information on how to keep your family safe and what to do if you are worried about child sexual abuse.

  • Sexual Violence Legal Advice Line
    020 7251 8887 (phone) or 020 7490 2562 (textphone)

    Mondays 11am-1pm and Tuesdays 10am 12 noon - Free confidential legal advice to women on sexual violence issues including rape, sexual assault, child sex offences, family related sex offences, trafficking, general criminal legal advice (run by Rights of Women)

  • STEP UP:
    020 8517 5888
    www.stepupcharity.org.uk
    Support parents and carers of sexually abused children. Run by parents of sexually abused children. Telephone helpline, drop in centre and befriending service. Drop in takes place in Ilford, Essex area

  • SupportLine Telephone Helpline:
    01708 765200

    info@supportline.org.uk
    Provides emotional support and keeps details of agencies, support groups and counsellors throughout the UK

Useful websites

  • www.childnet-int.org
    Helping to make the internet a great and safe place for children - information and support for parents.

  • www.childalert.co.uk
    All aspects of child safety and wellbeing - general information and more detailed information for members

  • www.iwf.org.uk Internet Watch Foundation
    Report illegal content online of child abuse images, criminally abusive content and criminally racist content hosted in the UK

IF YOU ARE AN ADULT WHO KNOWS OR BELIEVES THAT A CHILD OR YOUNG PERSON NEEDS TO BE KEPT SAFE AND FEEL THAT SOMEONE MAY BE AT RISK AND NEED ADVICE YOU CAN CONTACT:

  • NSPCC Helpline:
    0808 800 5000

    www.nspcc.org.uk

  • Stop It Now:
    0808 1000 900

    www.stopitnow.org.uk
    Also provide information to parents whose children may be sexually abusing other children.


See also: Child abuse - survivors

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