Advice for young people

If you are in immediate danger call 999 now.

If you would like to talk to someone, call Childline on 0800 1111.

What is domestic violence and abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse is any type of hurt taking place between adults who are close to each other. Domestic violence and abuse might be between parents, boyfriend and girlfriend or between lesbian or gay couples, or within families. For example, your parent or step-parent, brother, sister or uncle might be hurting their partner at home.

The hurt can take place in lots of different ways. Sometimes it can result in physical violence, but it can also be emotional abuse, financial abuse or sexual abuse. Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone. Most people think it mainly happens to women, but it can happen to men as well. There are lots of different types of domestic violence and abuse; some of these are listed below:

  • hitting, slapping, pulling hair, biting and kicking
  • name calling, bullying, controlling what the other person does (mental/emotional abuse)
  • controlling or taking all the money, not letting the other person work
  • forcing the person to have sex, touching them against their will

What if it’s happening at home, to a parent or family member?

Your parents and other family members should always look after and care about you, never hurt you and never hurt each other. You have a right to be safe and protected from being hurt. If someone is hurting you, or someone at home, or if you are frightened about being hurt, tell an adult who you trust.

If you can’t talk to anyone you know, there are lots of organisations that can help. The staff at Childline and The Hide Out can offer support and advice.

Tel: 0800 1111

The Hide Out

“I thought that it was all my fault: that the shouting and fighting was because of me. I would have done anything to make it stop.”

No matter how hard it is to see someone in your family being hurt, its important that you don’t try and stop the violence and hurt yourself. It’s much safer for you to try and find out what help is available.

What if I am being hurt by my boyfriend or girlfriend?

If you are worried about the way you are being treated it’s important to talk to someone about it. Perhaps there is an adult you trust, your friend’s parent or a teacher who you can talk confidentially to about what’s happening. If you don’t feel there is anyone you can talk to nearby, you could contact one of Devon’s specialist (confidential) support services (link to specialist support services, Childline on 0800 1111 or visit The Hideout.

What if I have experienced rape or sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner.

If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs, it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.

If you need help, you can talk to someone at a sexual health centre (called GU clinics), your GP or a hospital or you can call Childline on 0800 1111, so you can talk to someone about how you feel.

What if it is happening to a friend?

“I listened to what was happening to my friend and was able to tell him about this website. I didn’t really think it would help, but he told me he wouldn’t have known what to do if I hadn’t been around to help out.”

If your friend tells you that they are being hurt at home, or by their boyfriend or girlfriend, or if someone they live with is being hurt, you may feel it’s hard to know what to do. You could tell them about this website, tell them to talk to an adult they trust (such as a teacher) or, if you want to, give them the number for Childline – 0800 1111 – so they can talk to someone about any of their problems.

If your friend tells you about being hurt at home, or by their boyfriend or girlfriend, you may feel frightened for them or upset at the thought of what is happening to them. You may worry about them and want to stop them from being hurt, but it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t try and sort it out yourself. If you are feeling very upset you can telephone Childline on 0800 1111, so you can talk to someone about how you’re feeling.