What is Abuse?
Abuse presents itself in many forms. In relationships abuse can be
- psychological (i.e. mental and emotional)
Abuse usually occurs in situations where someone has power over someone else. Sexual abuse, sexual assault and domestic abuse are crimes.
What are the psychological consequences of abuse?
Not everyone is affected in the same way. Abuse which occurs over a long period of time and/or which is from people who are supposed to care about us can have a more serious impact. But this is not always the case.
Many people report that abuse (of any kind) has affected their sense of self. This means it has shaped their idea of who they are. People can be very negative about themselves and may believe that they are bad or useless in some way. Their self esteem can be low. People also describe feeling guilty and can experience anxiety or signs of depression. People can also experience problems associated with trauma.
People who have grown up in abusive environments, who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or who have lived for a long time in an abusive relationship as an adult may have problems with eating, with drugs and/or alcohol or they may harm themselves by e.g. cutting or burning. Often these behaviours can be understood as attempts to cope with very difficult feelings which can be overwhelming.
There are many resources and organisations that support people who have been abused (see External Resources and Related Sections).
If you suspect a child is being abused contact:
Your local Child Protection Unit
NSPCC: Tel, 0800 1111 offers a free and confidential service.
For more information about abuse, treatment and things that you can do to help yourself see menu of Related Websites.