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Physical violence and abuse

Violence is never okay. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse it is OK to ask for help.

Content Warning: this article contains violence and trauma related content that may be triggering or distressing.

Girl sitting on stairs while adult swears at her

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse happens when someone deliberately hurts your body

  • It can also be known as physical violence
  • Physical abuse or violence is illegal
  • You don’t have to have bruises or marks for it to be physical abuse
  • Physical abuse can start slowly with a threat or push and get worse over time
  • Nothing you say or do makes it okay for someone to hurt you

If you ever feel unsafe at home, talk to a trusted adult or Kids Helpline. If anyone is in danger, call 000 and ask for the Police.

Types of physical abuse

Here are some examples of physical abuse:

Hitting, punching or slapping

Choking or suffocating

Kicking, pushing or pulling

Biting, spitting or shaking

Pinching, scratching or burning

Destroying your property

Threatening to hurt you

Restraining or locking you up

Stopping you from taking your medication

Force feeding or denying you food or sleep

Poisoning or making you feel unwell with drugs or medicine

Throwing items at you or using items to hurt you

Physical abuse can hurt you emotionally too

It can have a big impact on the way you feel and act.

It may make you feel:

  • Sick, hurt, angry or betrayed
  • Scared, worried or sad
  • Lonely, isolated or trapped
  • Guilty, responsible or confused
  • Like hurting yourself
  • Suicidal, hopeless or helpless
  • Rejected, worthless or ashamed
  • Unable to concentrate, eat or sleep
  • Like running away or lashing out

If physical abuse or violence is happening to you…

It’s important to remember:

You are not alone
Violence is NEVER ok
You have the right to feel safe
This is NOT your fault
It’s OK to have mixed feelings
There are people who can help
Take care of yourself & talk to someone you trust
Your safety matters - call 000 if you’re in danger

You might worry telling someone will make things worse. But telling someone can be the first step towards making it stop. – Sky, Kids Helpline Counsellor

There are people you can talk to who can help and keep you safe

Here’s a list of some people you could try talking to. Remember, if at first you don’t get help, keep trying until you find somebody who will help you.

Police – 000

Older relative or friend

Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800

Teacher or school principal

1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Doctor or nurse

Youth worker

School counsellor

You don’t have to go through this alone

Talking about abuse can be hard, but it’s important to tell someone

No matter how alone or worried you feel, Kids Helpline will always listen and support you. Give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 19/07/2018

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