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Support for children and young people

If someone is abusing you it's never okay. It's not your fault and we're here to help you.

If you are in immediate danger please call 999 now

If you'd like to talk to someone, call Childline on 0800 1111





I'm being hurt by my boyfriend/girlfriend

Are they violent towards you or do they put you down, call you names and tell you what you can or can’t do? Your relationship will be very important to you but you need to think about how you want to be treated. You have a right to enjoy a relationship that is caring and safe.

If you're worried about the way you're being treated by your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s important to talk to someone about it. Talk to an adult you can trust like a teacher or friend's parent.

If you don’t feel there's anyone you can talk to nearby, you could call Childline on 0800 1111.


It's happening to a family member

Tell an adult who you trust if you or someone you know is being hurt or are frightened. You could tell an uncle or aunt, a teacher or one of your friends' parents.

If you can’t talk to anyone you know there are lots of support groups that can help. It's important that you don’t try and stop the abuse yourself.


It's happening to a friend

If your friend tells you that they're being hurt (emotionally or physically) at home, in their relationship, or if someone they live with is being hurt, here's a few things you could do:

  • You could tell them about this website
  • tell them to talk to and adult they trust (such as a teacher)
  • give them the number for Childline, 0800 1111, where they can talk to someone about any of their problems.

If your friend tells you about being hurt at home, you may find yourself feeling frightened for them or upset at the thought of what is happening to them. It’s important to remember you shouldn’t try and sort it out yourself. If you're feeling upset you could call Childline on 0800 1111 and talk to someone about how you feel.


Child sexual exploitation

It's a form of abuse where young people are forced or manipulated into sexual activity often by being given treats, affection, alcohol or drugs, etc. The abuser is likely to groom the young person into trusting them either face-to-face or online.

They may manipulate the young person into believing they're in a consensual relationship and that they love them. Either way, the young person is being taken advantage of through this controlling behaviour.


Warning signs

  • They buy you presents like clothes, a mobile phone or give you money to buy things. They might offer you drugs, alcohol, a place to chill out or involve you in activities that seem exciting or fun.
  • When they've gained your trust and affection they change how they act around you.
  • They start to find ways of controlling you such as making promises they can't keep, threatening you or becoming violent if you don't do what they want you to.
  • They might try and separate you from your friends, family and other people who care for you.
  • They'll ask for sexual favours for themselves and/or other people in return for alcohol, drugs, presents, money – all the things they gave you for free a while ago.


How to keep safe

  • Trust yourself to know when something's wrong. If someone makes you feel unsafe, pressured, trapped or frightened, follow your instincts straight away.
  • Don't trust people you don't know, even if they seem friendly.
  • Make sure you know who you're talking to online and never give away personal details or agree to meet someone who you've only talked to online unless you've discussed this first with a parent or carer.
  • Don't be tricked into doing things that are unsafe, even if they seem like fun. What might look exciting at first could be more harmful than you realise.
  • Sexual exploitation can happen to you, no matter whether you're a boy or a girl and no matter what your age. So you need to be careful who you trust. It's not always easy to talk to parents or carers about this, but it is important that you do.

Help and advice

  • Call or text the Say Something helpline on 116000 or email them if you think or someone you know is being sexually exploited.
  • BLAST Project supports boys and young men and information about grooming, sexual exploitation and safe relationships.
  • Thinkuknow has information on what child sexual exploitation as well as how to stay safe online, warning signs and who you can contact for help.


Where to get help

If you've been affected by domestic abuse, The Hide Out has stories and advice from young people in similar situations. There's also an interactive part of the site where you can play games and take time out from life at home.

  • YC Hertfordshire – advice and support to young people aged 13 – 19 (up to 25 if they have learning difficulties or disabilities and up to 21 if they are a care leaver).
  • Signpost – free and confidential counselling, coaching and support for 10 – 25 year olds in Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted, Rickmansworth, South Oxhey and Borehamwood. Call 01923 239495 for more information.
  • Youth Talk – free and confidential counselling in St Albans for 14 – 25 year olds. Call 01727 868 684 for more information.