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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.

Upset girl sitting on stairs

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse happens when someone deliberately hurts another person’s 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

Physical abuse can include:

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

Keeping yourself safe

There are things you can do and services you can talk to who can help keep you safe.

If you’re in immediate danger – Call 000 and ask for Police

Find services That can help with legal or financial support

Take care of yourself – Seek medical support if needed

Find somewhere safe – During a fight move to a safe space

Remove yourself – Stay with family, friends or seek support from a refuge

Make a safety plan – Have an escape plan ready if you need to leave quickly

Seek specialised support – From services like 1800 RESPECT

Know your rights – Check out the Lawstuff website 

Keep a record – Of any incidents including dates and photos of injuries

Talk to someone – Call Kids Helpline or talk to someone you trust

You don’t have to go through this alone

Talking to someone about abuse can be hard - but your safety is important

You might be worried that it will make things worse, but telling someone about the abuse can be the first step towards making it stop and keeping you safe from harm.

We’re here to help. Give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 19/07/2018

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