In your family
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What is child abuse


Parents and adults in your family have a responsibility to look after you and care about you. If family members do things that hurt you, scare you, or make you feel bad about yourself, then this isn't okay. When parents or adults harm children or young people, it is called 'child abuse'.

Forms of abuse towards young people and kids

Child abuse doesn't always involve physical violence. Other forms of abuse can hurt just as much.


Emotional abuse is when a parent (or another adult) constantly puts you down, calls you names, makes you feel like you're worthless, or always acts like they don't want you or don't care about you.

'It feels like I'm not important. She says I'm stupid and I am always in the way, she wishes she never had me.'
Neglect is when a parent doesn't look after your needs (like providing food, clothes, a safe home and medical attention).

'When mum was off her face I'd have to take care of myself, even when I was a little kid. Lots of times there was no food in the house. I used to stay home a lot to look after her.'
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Physical abuse includes when a parent, a family member (such as a relative or a sibling) or an adult hits, bashes, or physically injures you, or threatens to hurt you.
'We used to know what was coming. A few times I even tried to hit him back.'
Sexual abuse is when a parent, someone in your family, or someone else, makes you do sexual things (including touching your private parts, making you touch them or look at their private parts). They might trick you, pressure you, scare you, confuse you or threaten you so that you feel like you have to do these things.
'I wasn't allowed to shut the door if I was in the shower. He had to be able to see me all the time.'
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For more info on sexual abuse, see What is sexual abuse or see Frequently Asked Questions - Sexual abuse

These forms of abuse can happen between brothers and sisters, too. If a brother or sister hurts you, bullies you, always puts you down, or makes you do sexual things, then they are not treating you right.

It can be confusing if sometimes your parents or family members might treat you ok, then at other times they do things that hurt and upset you. But you never deserve abuse. You can do something about it.



Question    GOT A QUESTION? If you're not sure whether what's going on at home is ok or not, ring or email Kids Help Line and discuss it with them, or call another service. If you are worried about talking to services, see Telling Someone - FAQs

More information:

If you are worried about other family or relationship problems (eg; communication or conflict with parents, divorce, etc) see Links to family and relationship websites.
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