Abuse is the misuse of power with the intent to control or harm another person. The maltreatment can be regularly or repeatedly either physical, emotional or sexual. Maltreatment by a family member (caregiver, intimate adult partner) or by a non relative is never your fault and is always wrong. if this is something you are experiencing or have previously experienced its must be reported to protect yourself and others. All types of abuse can cause emotional and psychological issues, secondary to their abuse which can include, Anxiety or Depression. Sometimes people may not be aware that they are being abused, which is why it is so important to know how to read the potential signs.

Types of Abuse

Abuse in any form can harm someone, below are types of abuse;

  • Physical abuse: Deliberate physical violence such as hitting, punching, shaking, burning, chocking, unwanted physical touching and other acts that can cause physical injury to the body. 
  • Sexual abuse: Actions of sexual nature without consent such as, rape, sexual assault, incest, childhood sexual abuse or other acts of sexual violence.
  • Emotional and verbal abuse: Controlling manipulation and actions that cause emotional distress, including being criticised constantly, threatened, bullied, dismissed, humiliated, disrespected, accused, harassed, isolated from friends or family, or being yelled at.
  • Neglect: Neglect can occur when adequate food, housing, clothing or medical care is not provided for someone, for example in childhood. Emotional neglect happens when support and love are not provided. Financial abuse: controlling another individual using money, for example controlling how much they spend, controlling their bank account, taking their personal property without their permission.
  • Domestic abuse: Violence which is towards a person you are in an intimate relationship with.
  • Elder abuse: Physical, emotional or sexual harm inflicted upon an elderly person, or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care.
  • Child abuse: Intentionally harming a child, sexual, physically or emotionally, which can be over a period of time and also a one off action. In addition it can also be a lack of love, care and attention.

Effects of Abuse

Any form of abuse can have long lasting effects which can cause emotional and psychological difficulties, even after the abuse has stopped. Individuals who have survived abuse have a higher risk of developing mental health concerns along with any of the following issue;

  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Dissociation 
  • Panic attacks 
  • low confidence and low self esteem 
  • Mood issues 
  • Memory gaps 
  • Self-harm 
  • Behavioural difficulties 
  • Sexual difficulties 
  • Shame 
  • Trust and relationship issues
  • Feeling suicidal
  • Self- destructive behaviours (self-harming, self medicate with drugs or alcohol, neglect)

Helpful resources

  • In case of an Emergency please dail 999
  • Childline
  • Victim support
  • Women’s Aid
  • The survivors trust
  • NHS National
  • Association for people abused in childhood

How can therapy help

Therapy can help provide a safe space for you to talk and explore your emotions with a trusted professional. Helping you feel dafe and understood, your therapist can help guide you through your feelings and help you understand what has happened/ happening to you. In some cases if you wanted to your therapist can also help with reporting any incidents and concerns you may have with any emergency services.

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