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Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Domestic violence

Anyone can become a victim of violent behaviour in their home, regardless of their gender, age or family situation. If you're a victim or worried about someone else, you should know where to go for help.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence covers any incidents of violent behaviour in a family or a relationship. This covers abuse by one family member to another or between two people in a relationship.

Another form of domestic violence is child abuse. This is when a child or young person is harmed, neglected or bullied by an older adult. You don't have to be physically hurt to be a victim of child abuse; if you're constantly being sworn at or told that you're unwanted, this may also be classed as emotional abuse.

If you're being hurt

If you've been physically or mentally harmed by a parent, carer, older relative or someone you're in a relationship with, you should remember that you are not to blame. Many victims of domestic violence believe that they have in some way created or caused the problems that led to the violence.

This is not the case. The only person to blame is the one who is committing the violent acts.

If you feel confident enough, you should call the police. They take crimes like this very seriously and will be able to act quickly. If you don't want to call the police, talk to a friend or a teacher that you can trust about your feelings.

If you know someone else is being hurt

If you're worried that one of your friends, parents or carers is a victim of violence in their own home, tell them about your concerns. It's best to help them talk through the situation and support them if they decide to report the matter themselves.

Organisations with further information

If you're suffering from domestic violence, or you're worried that someone you know may be suffering, there are a number of organisations you can contact for helpful advice.

Childline

If you're a victim of domestic abuse and you're worried about what will happen if you report it to the police, you should call Childline on 0800 1111. They'll be able to let you know what will happen if you tell someone about your situation and help you work out what to do next.

Calls to Childline are free and they'll never appear on your phone bill. You may also be able to find useful information on their website.

NSPCC

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) operates a helpline that offers confidential advice for people who are worried about cases of possible child abuse. The NSPCC cannot investigate suspected child abuse cases, but they'll be able to provide you with the contact details of the relevant local social services teams. The number is 0808 800 5000 and it's open 24 hours a day.

You may also want to look at the NSPCC's there4me website. As well offering advice, the site lets you chat online to trained advisers in real time. This is useful if you're worried about using your home phone.

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