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12 to 16

There's always arguing in the house....I don't like how he talks to me or my mum..... Sometimes I'm scared to go home..... Sometimes I feel annoyed at my mum, why can't we just leave?.... I can't take friends back to my house because of what goes on.... I wish there was more I could do to help my mum….  It makes me want to hurt myself....Sometimes I feel so confused, I love him but I hate what he does...  I'm afraid of him.... I feel like running away....  I don't want to go to school in case something happens to my mum while I'm not there……..

If any of this sounds like your home life, you could be living with Domestic Abuse, this can be; verbal, physical, sexual, emotional and financial. It's not easy living at home when all this stuff is going on but unfortunately it happens in a lot of families.

So what is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic Abuse is when someone in your family, or someone who is close to your family like your Dad or your Mum's boyfriend, wants to control everyone else, and says and does things that hurt or scare the people close to them. The abuse can happen for any reason at any time - not just in your home. 

These are some of the things that might happen.

Emotional abuse

  • Calling you names that hurt your feelings or make you feel ugly or stupid
  • Isolating you by making you, your friends or family feel unwelcome
  • Taking away your belongings or getting rid of them without asking you
    Stopping you from joining in activities with your friends
  • Ignoring you or giving you the 'silent treatment'
  • Throwing things, slamming doors, punching walls, blocking exits, all: things which may make you feel frightened or scared
  • Threatening or hurting a family pet


Physical Abuse

  • Making you watch someone else being hurt, or forcing you to hurt them too
  • Hurting you e.g. by hitting, slapping, kicking or pinching


Financial Abuse

  • This is when one adult takes control of another adult's money that they might need to pay bills or to buy food, not letting them have control over their money, or not letting them work to earn their own money


Sexual Abuse

  • Touching you in places you don't like or that makes you feel uncomfortable
  • Making you take part in sexual activities
  • Making you watch sexual images


There are lots of ways that someone can be abusive, but the thing they have in common is that they make someone else feel bad.

How will I know if it's happening in my family?  

These things may be happening to you or you may see it happening to your brother or sister, your Mum or another adult you love.  If abuse is happening in your home will probably know about it even if things usually happen when you have gone to bed.  It is very frightening to be lying awake listening to sounds of fighting, shouting or crying in another room. You may feel very alone and possibly ashamed of what is happening in your family.  You may feel that you could do more to help.

It is okay to feel these things but; 

•  You're not alone - it happens to a lot of other young people as well
•  You're not blame for what's going on - it's not your fault
•  You're an important person
•  You have the right to be safe