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I'm a victim of domestic abuse (child/teenager)

If you're in danger right now, call 999.

Domestic abuse isn't always physical. The other kinds of abuse can hurt just as much as physical. They are all wrong, and many are against the law.

Physical abuse is when one person hits, pushes, throws things, smashes things, or threatens to physically hurt the other.

Emotional abuse is making the person feel hurt or bad about themselves. This might be putting the other person down, making them feel stupid or making threats to harm themselves if their partner leaves. It can also be when one person stops the other from seeing their friends or family or is constantly checking up on where they are.

Financial abuse is when one person takes control of the money in the household, and doesn't let the other person have any.

Sexual abuse is when one person makes the other do sexual things that they don't want to do. No one has the right to force someone else into sexual contact - even if they are married.

Firstly it's important to understand that you're not to blame. If you or someone else are being abused, you're not responsible for how the abuser behaves.

If one family member is abusing another, they are also abusing you. Seeing a person treat another person badly can really hurt or upset you, and they are not making your home a safe or happy place to be.

You shouldn't have to feel nervous in your own home because of the way someone behaves.

Remember:

  • the person who is being abusive knows what they're doing is wrong, even if they act like they don't
  • there are no excuses for treating someone else badly
  • being drunk or angry is no excuse for hurting someone else.

Sometimes the person who is being abused can feel like people blame them for letting it happen. For the person being abused it is very difficult to know how to handle or cope with the situation. Remember, a victim is never to blame for the abuse.

It can be very hard to leave a relationship, even when it involves abuse. The person who is abused might think they still love the abuser and hope they’ll change, or they may have no money or no place to go.

If you can, talk to your parent about how you feel. They may not realise how it's affecting you. They might think you don't know it is happening.

There are support services that can help you and your family. Local services are Harbour (03000 20 25 25) or My Sister’s Place (01642 241864).

All couples have arguments. There is a difference between arguments and abuse. In a healthy relationship, sometimes people might argue or disagree, but they should still feel able to say what they really think.

Domestic abuse is when one family member bullies or frightens another so they don't feel like they can say or do what they want to.

There is no excuse for domestic abuse.

If you are in danger, or if you or a family member is about to get hurt, call the police on 999.

If you are worried about domestic abuse in your family, find someone you can tell. You might feel embarrassed, guilty or scared but by letting someone know, you will feel safer. It may help make it stop and help you feel less alone. Tell someone you trust, like a teacher, a youth worker or a family friend.

If they think you are in danger, they may need to talk to the police, who can investigate what happened, or they might contact a support organisation who will help end the domestic abuse. If the police or support organisation are worried about your safety or feel that your family can’t protect you from the abuse, they will involve agencies to offer you protection and make you safe.

If you're not in immediate danger, are aged 3 – 18, and are living with domestic abuse in Middlesbrough, you can speak to a specialist team called Harbour Children and Young People’s service. You can ring them on 03000 20 25 25. They have special staff who you can talk to about what’s happening to you. They'll listen to you and understand how you feel. They can come and talk to you at school or somewhere else you feel safe.

Childline is a helpline for children and young people. Don't worry, it's free, it's open 24 hours a day (all day and all night), and it's confidential. That means they won't tell anyone what you say unless they think your life is in danger. You can call the helpline on 08000 1111 or go on their website.

The Hideout is a website that tells you all about domestic abuse. You can find out what domestic abuse is, if it's happening to you, and what you can do about it.

If you are in danger, or if you or a family member is about to get hurt, call the police on 999.

They will ask you what is happening, and will come to you any time, day or night. They will need to know your name and address.

The police will take action to stop the abuse and make you safe. They might talk to the person who is abusive. They could give them a warning, or ask them to leave the house. They may arrest the person and charge them with a crime.

They could help make arrangements to prevent the person being able to contact you or other family members to keep you safe. They will make sure you and your family members are supported by people who understand how you’re feeling.

Yes, domestic abuse can happen between teenagers who are in a relationship.

An abusive relationship is based on power and control. In the early stages of an abusive relationship, you may not always recognise the signs. At first you might feel loved and flattered by all the attention. However, possessiveness or making you feel pressured are all about power and control. You should not feel frightened or intimidated, unable to see your friends or family, or like you can’t go out or have fun. There is no excuse for abuse of any kind. You deserve to feel safe, respected and accepted in a relationship.

Remember:

  • you are not to blame if your partner is abusive to you.
  • abusers try to isolate their partners. Talk to your friends, family members, teachers and others to make sure you’re getting the support you need.

Maintaining healthy relationships involves:

  • respect for each other and each other’s privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship, you don’t have to share everything and always be together. Healthy relationships require space.
  • support – always build each other up, not put each other down.
  • communication – if something is worrying you, talk about it.

Making a safety plan can help you to stay safe and avoid dangerous situations.

This short video might help you to recognise abuse in your relationship.

If you think your relationship is abusive, you can get advice from Disrespect Nobody or Thinkuknow. You can find out more about them in the 'Find advice and help online' section listed in the sections below.

Childline

A free 24 hour, confidential helpline for children and young people. Call 08000 1111 or visit their website.

The Hideout

A national domestic abuse website for children and young people.

Disrespect Nobody

The Disrespect Nobody campaign is aimed at young people, encouraging them to understand what a healthy relationship is, to rethink their view of controlling behaviour, violence, abuse and sexual abuse, and what consent means. It will also tell you where to get help and advice. Visit their website.

Thinkuknow

Thinkuknow offers advice to young people on sex, relationships and staying safe online. People online may try to make you do things which make you uncomfortable, like talking about sex, asking you to send naked photos of yourself, or pressuring you to meet them in real life. Visit their website.

If this happens you can report it using the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) ‘report it’ button. You’ll be asked for information about you and what’s happened, which will help people to keep you safe. You can also make a report to CEOP if you are worried about a friend, or someone you know.