LSCBLocal Safeguarding Children Board Northamptonshire

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is when someone deliberately hurts or injures you. It can happen as a single event or over a longer period of time.

Physical abuse can involve:

  • Slapping
  • Punching
  • Pinching
  • Kicking
  • Beating (for example, with a stick or a belt)
  • Shaking or suffocating you
  • Scalding or burning you
  • Hair pulling
  • Making you swallow something that hurts or makes you ill


Lots of young people experience physical abuse. Physical abuse can be carried out by adults including your mum and dad as well as by other young people such as brothers, sisters, boyfriends or girlfriends. The abuse might only happen on certain occasions for example, when a parent/carer has been drinking.

No matter how often it happens or in what circumstances, what they are doing is wrong. It is not your fault and if left to continue can affect your future happiness and so it needs to stop. There are no reasons that justify physical abuse. Abuse is wrong and you should tell someone you trust that it is happening.

Living with somebody who is physically abusing you is a scary situation to be in. You might be worried about:

  • When the next incident of abuse will be
  •  A younger sibling or another parent being a victim
  • Friends finding out
  • The thought of living in care/where you will live
  • Parents/carers getting into trouble if you tell someone

If you are worried about a friend and think they are being physically abused, you could try to talk to them. It’s important to let them know you are there for them and encourage them to tell someone what is happening to them. If they are in trouble or someone is hurting them, then you should speak to an adult you trust.

Last updated: 04 August 2015

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