We know it’s hard to talk to anyone about abuse however this is the first step towards getting help. When you feel ready to tell, choose someone you feel comfortable with and someone you can trust to help. If the abuse is happening to you at home and you feel you can’t safely tell someone there, and you can’t talk to anyone else in your family, you could talk to somebody like a friend’s parents or one of the people we’ve listed below.
Everyone whose job it is to work with children, have rules they have to stick to when they are told about any child abuse. These are called Child Protection Instructions. You can find out a bit more about these by clicking on What Happens if I Tell.
There are lots of people you can talk to –
- School staff
All the people who work in schools are there to help you in every way they can. There are special teachers in every school called Child Protection Officers, who have extra training to help young people who might be abused. You can ask to talk to them, but it does not have to be them. You chose who you first talk to. If that is not the Child Protection Officer, they will be made aware of what you said so you can get help to be safe. All school staff know that what you tell them is private and they will only tell others who really need to know.
- Health workers
School Nurses, your family doctor, hospital doctors or nurses can help you if you are worried about your health or if you have been harmed by someone. In school you can ask to speak to the school nurse.
If you need to see a doctor or nurse because you have been hurt by someone and you feel they are not being told the truth about what really happened, you can ask to speak to them alone. It might be hard to do this if the person who hurt you is also there, and you know they would not want you to tell. You can maybe think of ways to get them alone, even for a short time, such as asking to be shown to the toilet. You might feel able if the doctor asks you to confirm what they have been told is true, to say “No”. It’s Okay if you don’t feel able to contradict what has been said. Maybe you can just not answer and this might give the doctor some clues that something is wrong and they might ask to speak to you alone so you can speak out.
- Social workers
If you already have a social worker, you can tell them what is happening and they must look into what you say and take action that will help keep you safe. Your social worker should spend time alone with you anyway, but if this does not happen you can ask to speak to them or ask someone from school to do this for you. If you find it hard to start talking about the abuse to the social worker, you can maybe try other ways, such as writing something down. If you don’t have a social worker you may not think of them as a first person to tell, If you do want to talk with a social worker you can phone the Child Protection Line 01382 307999. Usually even if you don’t have a social worker right now, they will be contacted and told about abuse so they can work with you and your family to help keep you safe.
- Workers in Clubs
If you go to any, sports club or activity club you can tell them about worries or abuse. Most of them will have had training how to help, and be aware of the Child Protection instructions they need to stick to when they are told about abuse They will listen carefully to what you have to say, and might write a few things down to make sure they get it right and don’t forget important points The Instruction to all staff are that they have tell social workers or the Police if you have told them that you, or someone else is being abused. This is the only way they can keep you safe. They will do what they can to help but they are not allowed to look into the abuse themselves. They won’t tell you r parents what you have told unless you have said they should, if say your worry was about being bullied in school or something like that.
If you are being abused in anyway by anyone in any club or group you go to you must tell someone about this, maybe your parents, other family member or someone in school.
It is the job of the Police to help keep people safe. If something is happening to you or someone you know that makes you feel sad, frightened or hurts you in any way you can tell the police about it. Even if you don’t tell them first, if you have told someone else that you are being abused, the Police should be told as they will be part of the group of people who will then help keep you safe. Some Police Officers have specialist training in how to talk with young people who have been abused. They don’t usually wear uniforms and they are definitely not there to get you into trouble. They will meet with you, usually with a social worker to listen to your worries and to help you explain what is going on for you.
Please never keep the worry to yourself. If you don't feel you can talk to anyone you know, or are not ready for action to be taken, Childline will help. You can call, chat online or email them at any time on any day. You don’t have to tell them anything that you don’t want to. They will ask you some questions to find out how you are feeling. They will help you talk about things, and work out what's best to do next.