If you are not yet 18 years old you are called a child (or a teenager) under the Children Act 1989. This means that you are protected in law from actions or behaviours of anybody, whether acting alone or as part of a group, who may seek to harm you in any way. This may be physical or sexual harm; it may be harm that happens as a result of your physical and emotional needs being neglected or it may be emotional harm from verbal abuse, which includes bullying.
Often adults or other young people who may seek to hurt you are very well known to you; they may be your mum or dad, they may be your brother or sister; or they may be another relative. They may be at school, or have been a friend at some stage.
If someone is hurting you talk to an adult whom you trust – maybe somebody in your family or perhaps your school teacher. You can speak to your doctor or nurse or therapist in CAMHS, your school nurse, health visitor or doctor or a police officer or Childline. Children and young people can telephone ChildLine on 0800 1111 to talk about any problem.
What does ChildLine do?
ChildLine is the free and confidential helpline for children and young people up to the age of 18 in the UK.Young people can contact ChildLine about any problem, big or small. It is open 24 hours, 365 days a year! It is part of the NSPCC and you can find much more about it on the NSPCC site www.nspcc.org.uk.
In recent times, the most common problems that ChildLine have been contacted about are:
Abuse can also happen online too – on Facebook or other social networking sites. A special branch of the police called CEOP (Child Exploitation and On-line Protection) work to protect children and young people from sexual exploitation – in the online and offline world. You can check out how you can keep safe at www.thinkuknow.co.uk
On this site you can get in touch with someone who can help if you are worried, or you have a gut feeling that something is not right with a conversation or a ‘meeting’ on-line.
Please don’t worry about things alone! Talk to someone you can trust to help.