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child abuse

As part of growing up, kids trust people in authority. Children expect powerful, older people to look after them and keep them safe. Sometimes, people with power and authority choose to hurt, use or neglect children. This is child abuse and it's not OK.

Child abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or neglect, and it can happen once or many times.

Physical abuse is when a child is hurt or injured, and includes being hit, slapped, beaten, kicked, thrown, shaken or punched by parents or other people.

Emotional abuse is when you are being criticised all the time, made fun of, embarrassed or constantly put down. It might feel like you are not loved, valued or respected. You can feel rejected by the people who should care about you the most.

Sexual abuse is when you are hurt by sexual comments or suggestions. It can involve being shown adult pictures or videos. You may be touched, or made to touch others in a sexual way, or forced to have sex.
Neglect is when you are not looked after properly. The people caring for you should make sure you have enough food and warmth. You should also have good shelter, be able to wash and have clean clothing.

Who are the abusers?

Most abusers of children are known to the child, and are not necessarily strangers. They can be parents, family friends, teachers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, brothers and sisters.

People who abuse children want to keep it a secret and will tell kids not to tell anyone. They make threats to keep children silent or make them feel guilty and ashamed. You should not stay silent.

They also try and make children believe it's their own fault. It is not your fault.

Remember, if you are being abused, it is NOT your fault.

Children are not to blame for being abused. It is the abuser who is to blame. The person hurting children is in the wrong. You have a right to be safe.

What to do if you are being abused

Tell someone you trust immediately. This could be a parent, teacher, relative or a friend. You may be worried about what may happen afterwards, but your safety is the most important thing. If you are being abused you must speak out.

What if no one believes me?

If you are being abused, you should tell someone you trust. If they don't believe you, make sure you find someone who does.

People who abuse children are breaking the law and they need help too.

If you need help or just want to talk, phone Kidsline and a Buddy will help you work out what to do next.
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