Physical Abuse

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Nobody should feel scared, especially in their own home. If you have been hurt or think you might be hurt if you don’t do what someone wants then that is abusive behaviour. You might also feel scared if abuse is happening between adults in your family. If this is happening it is called domestic abuse, but that doesn’t mean the person being violent or abusive towards you or a member of your family has to live with you.

Domestic abuse can have a really big impact on you. It can make you feel scared, angry, confused, exhausted and lonely (and lots of other feelings).

Domestic abuse isn’t usually a one-off incident and it often gets worse over time. It can involve things like:

  • Pulling your hair, punching, slapping, kicking, biting or choking you
  • Burning or scalding you
  • Stopping you from sleeping
  • Controlling what you eat
  • Hurting you with objects or weapons (for example throwing the remote control at you or threatening you with scissors)
  • Forcing you to use drugs or alcohol
  • Harming other family members, friends or pets

Take a look at the video below created by young people from Yello!, an expert group support by Scottish Women’s Aid, about what this might look like in real life. 

Getting help when you’re scared…

Often people who live with someone who is scary can be too frightened to tell or ask for help in case something really bad happens. But everyone has the right to live in safety.

You can get in touch with people like Childline and the National Domestic Abuse Helpline who can support you and help you keep safe.

You can call Childline on 0800 1111 any day between 9am and midnight or you can chat to the team via webchat or email.

You can call Scotland’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 027 123424 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also email them via

If you are in immediate danger you should call 999, if you can.

If it’s not safe to talk you can cough after dialling 999 and you will be put through to the operator.

If you are in danger, you will be asked to dial “55”, otherwise the call will be terminated.

What does the law say?

The Children (Scotland) Act 1995 ensures that children and young people are protected from abuse. This includes abuse from violence, harassment, threatening conduct and any other conduct which will cause physical or mental injury or fear. This means that children and young people are protected from their parent, carer or guardian, or other member of their family or support group hurting them.

It is against the law in Scotland to threaten or abuse another person (threatening and abusive behaviour is also an offence against a person under Section 38 of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010).

Where can you get help and support?

You can get in touch with any of the organisations listed above.

There are also Women’s Aid groups who offer support for young people. They are run by people who can understand what you are going through and help you feel better about what has happened. If you know your postcode you can find your nearest group.

If someone you know is in immediate danger you should call 999, if you can.

Find out where else you can go to get support.

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Visit the That’s Not OK campaign page for more information.

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