What is abuse or harm?
- Harm is when someone does or says things to make you upset or frightened.
- You may be too scared to speak out or to stop them.
- You may be harmed on purpose, or by someone who may not realise that what they are doing to you is wrong
- Harm can happen when someone has power over you, and you do not agree to what is happening.
It is important if you or someone you know is being abused, that you tell someone so that they can help.
Further guidance from the Avon and Somerset police Lighthouse Victim and Witness Care website is available.
Different types of abuse or harm
This is when someone physically hurts you. Examples of physical abuse include:
- Pulling hair
- Throwing things at you
This is when someone does things to you or makes you do sexual things. These things can make you sad, angry or frightened.
Sexual abuse is when someone touches your body or your private parts in a way you do not like or want. Sexual abuse is also being made to touch someone else when you do not want to.
Here are some examples of sexual abuse:
- Someone touching your private parts when you do not want them to.
- Someone touching your bottom when you do not want them to.
- Someone touching your breasts when you do not want them to.
- Someone touching your penis when you do not want them to.
- Someone touching your vagina when you do not want them to.
- Being made to touch other people in these places.
This is when people talk to you in unkind ways. Emotional abuse can be when people say bad things to hurt your feelings, shout at you or threaten you.
Here are some examples of emotional abuse:
- Calling you horrible names
- Blaming you for things when it’s not your fault
- Treating you like a child
- Ignoring you
This is when someone takes your money or things that belong to you without asking. It can also be when someone controls your money or things that belong to you without asking.
You may have a legal guardian or someone has the power of attorney for you. This is someone who would help you look after your money and things that belong to you.
If you have help to look after your money someone should always go to these people if they are supposed to.
Here are some examples of financial abuse:
- Someone stealing your money
- Someone making you pay for other people’s things
- When you don’t have a say in how your money is spent
Neglect is when people who are supposed to look after you don’t look after you properly.
Here are some examples of neglect:
- Being hungry
- Being cold a lot of the time
- Having only dirty clothes to wear
- Being put in danger
This is when people say or do bad things to you. It can also be when people treat you unfairly or differently.
Here are some examples of discriminatory abuse:
- Someone being treated badly or differently because of the colour of their skin.
- Someone being treated badly or differently because they are disabled.
- Someone being treated badly or differently because of their religion.
- Someone being treated badly or differently because they are lesbian or gay.
- Someone being treated badly or differently because they speak a different language.
Domestic violence and abuse is when your current or previous partner or a member of your family hurt you or try and control what you do.
Here are some examples of domestic abuse:
- Forcing you to have sex.
- Being forced to marry someone when you do not want to.
- Being held against your will or taken somewhere you don’t want to be.
Modern slavery is being forced to work illegally against your will.
Here are some examples of modern slavery:
- Forced to work in prostitution of pornography.
- Carrying out housework or domestic chores with little or no pay.
Organisational abuse happens in care homes, hospitals and can even happen in your own home.
Here are some examples of organisational abuse:
- Care staff calling you names or hitting you.
- Care staff not helping you with washing and dressing.
- Being left alone in your room all day and care staff ignoring you.
This may happen once or all the time.
Self-neglect is when you do not look after yourself properly.
Here are some examples of self-neglect:
- Wearing dirty clothes all the time.
- Not washing or looking after yourself properly.
- Missing doctors appointments.
County Lines and Cuckooing
County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks involved in exporting illegal drugs into one or more importing areas in the UK, using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of 'deal line'.
Cuckooing: drug dealers will often take over the homes of vulnerable people as they use it as a base to deal drugs in the area.