medium shot of a girl wearing a backpack and denim jacket hoodie and with face unseen while standing in park on a chilly weather

A guide for parents Supporting your child with abuse

If your child is experiencing or has experienced abuse, or you are worried they might be experiencing abuse, remember that you are not alone. On this page, you can find organisations that can help you.

What is abuse?

A father comforting his sad daughter with his arm around her

Abuse can happen in different ways. It can be:

  • Physical – when someone is hurt or harmed on purpose, including being hit, slapped, kicked, punched or shaken.
  • Mental or emotional – when someone is treated badly, including being ignored or criticised, called names, shouted at, threatened, frightened, blamed or controlled.
  • Neglect – when a child or young person is not looked after, or does not get the love, care and attention they need. This includes not getting things like food or clothing, and not being kept healthy or safe.
  • Sexual – sexual touching of any part of a child’s body, or forcing a child to see or take part in any kind of sexual activity. This includes a child being kissed, touched or forced to have sex, and being exposed to sexual acts, images or videos.
  • Domestic – any kind of abuse that happens between people in a relationship.

For more information on the different types of abuse, as well as the signs that a young person is being abused, go to the NSPCC website.

NSPCC Website
A mother holding her young daughter and smiling

Abuse and mental health

If your child experiences abuse, it can have a huge effect on their mental health and wellbeing – both while it is happening and later in life. Abuse is never okay or excusable, and everyone has the right to live a life free from fear, harm and control.

The most important thing you can do is find the right support to help you take the next step, so that you can make sure your child is safe, that the abuse stops and that they can get the help they need to deal with what’s happened.

Where can I find help?

Below you can find organisations that can support you.

If someone is in immediate danger or at risk of immediate harm, call 999 for the police. You can also call 999 for an ambulance if someone is injured.

Useful helplines and websites:


    Information and advice for any adult concerned about the safety of a child.

    Online contact form here.

    Opening times:
    8am - 10pm, Monday - Friday; 9am - 6pm at weekends
  • Refuge

    Supports women and children who are experiencing, or have experienced, domestic violence or abuse.

    You can call their helpline for support, information and advice - including help to access their emergency accommodation.

    Online chat service available 3pm - 10pm, Monday - Friday.

    You can send a message to the helpline using this online contact form (response time within 48 hours, or at a safe time chosen by you).

    Opening times:
    24 hours a day, every day of the year
  • Rape Crisis Centre

    Supports girls and women who have experienced rape, sexual violence or sexual abuse at any time.

    Online chat service available for women and girls aged 16 or over, open Monday-Friday (times on the website).

    You can find your local crisis centre here

    Opening times:
    12pm - 2.30pm and 7pm - 9.30pm, 365 days a year
  • Victim Support

    Offers support to anyone affected by crime; not only those who experience it directly, but also their friends, family and any other people involved.

    Live webchat service available.

    Offers specialist support for children and young people affected by crime through their website You & Co.

    Opening times:
  • Pace

    Supports parents and carers whose children are being, or are at risk of being, sexually exploited by someone outside the family.

    Contact them using their online form - someone will then be in touch to discuss your situation.

  • Men's Advice Line

    Provides support, information and advice for men experiencing domestic violence or abuse.

    You can access their webchat service from the homepage (open 10am - 11am and 3pm - 4pm, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays).

    Opening times:
    9am - 8pm, Monday - Friday
  • Stop it Now

    Supports adults who are unsure or worried about their own sexual thoughts or behaviour towards children, or the behaviour of someone they know (adults or children).

    Opening times:
    9am - 9pm, Monday – Thursday; 9am - 5pm on Fridays
  • Mosac

    Supports non-abusing parents and carers of children who have been sexually abused. They offer therapeutic sessions, advocacy, training, support groups and advice sessions.

    If you can afford to pay for the call, Mosac asks you to ring 020 8293 9990.

    Webchat service available from the homepage.

    Interpreter services are available.

  • NAPAC (the National Association for People Abused in Childhood)

    Offers support to adult survivors of all types of childhood abuse, including physical, sexual, emotional abuse or neglect.

    Opening times:
    10am - 4pm, Monday, Wednesdays & Fridays; 2pm - 9pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays