Childhood abuse

There are many forms of childhood abuse which can include emotional abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. In many experiences people can experience more than one form of childhood abuse. 

Abusers often carry out their acts because they want control or power over another person. If you’re a child who is currently experiencing abuse, or an adult who experienced abuse as a child, you might be finding it hard to know where to go for help or who to talk to. We are here to listen.

It’s believed that one in four adults (both male and female) have experienced some form of abuse as a child. The support of family and friends can help for some people and may aid their recovery but for many survivors the opportunity to talk to someone professional and independent is very beneficial.

Here at the Victim Care Service we provide free support for anyone affected by crime.  If you’d like to talk to a trained supporter about anything that is happening to you now or happened in the past, you can contact our friendly team on our freephone number.

Boy sat on a curb with his head in his hands

Your emotional response to child abuse

If you are currently experiencing abuse you might be feeling frightened and unsure about who you can trust. It is important that you talk to someone about what you are going through so they can help you. It is completely free to call us or, if it’s easier, you can send us an email. We are here to listen and to support you.

Adults who have experienced child abuse in their past can be affected in very different ways. It is not unusual for traumatic memories to be triggered out of the blue and this can be difficult to deal with.  Even if you only recently remembered it, or reported it at the time, you might experience some very intense emotions.

You won’t necessarily experience mental health or emotional difficulties if you’ve been abused as a child, but it’s estimated that over half of adults in that situation may encounter the following symptoms:

  • depression;
  • anxiety;
  • sleep disorder;
  • self-harm;
  • suicidal thoughts; and
  • post-traumatic stress.

Your physical health may be impacted by childhood abuse. If you find it more difficult to go to your GP, hospital or a dentist, this isn’t uncommon. You may also feel unwilling to take part in physical examinations.

What can I do if I’m impacted by childhood abuse?

Dealing with childhood abuse alone is very difficult. We can offer professional advice if you’re struggling to cope and have trained team members who have experience of supporting people who have suffered abuse during childhood.

We’ll listen to you and help plan ways to move on with your life through our confidential, free service. It doesn’t matter if you have or haven’t reported the incident to the authorities.

We think everyone who has experienced childhood abuse deserves to get the support and help they need. This extends to anyone who has been abused, regardless of whether it was recent or many years ago.