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What happens when I say...

Speaking up about sexual abuse or exploitation can be upsetting and scary. We understand that you want the abuse to stop. We also understand that you might be worried about what might happen after you tell somebody. This is normal and it’s okay to feel like this. 

Some things you might be worried about:

  • what people might think
  • upsetting a parent or carer
  • making the abuse worse for yourself or a brother or sister
  • getting the person who’s abusing you into trouble
  • breaking up the family.

The most important thing is that you are safe and you feel like you can talk to somebody. We don’t want you to go through this on your own.

What happens if I tell a teacher, police officer or doctor?

If you decide to report the abuse to a teacher, police officer or doctor they have a duty to report it to a social worker. A social worker’s job is to talk with you and your family to see what the best way to keep you safe is. Lots of young people worry that they will ‘take you away’ or ‘break up the family’ – but they want to make things better for you, not worse. If they can, they will always try and sort things out in the family before they think about moving anyone out of the house.

Depending on the information they have and whether they know of your family already, a social worker may do a ‘safety check’ within seven days. This usually means a social worker coming round to speak to you and your parent or carer. If the abuse is happening at home, you can tell a teacher that you’re afraid and would prefer to speak to a social worker at school instead. You could also try and plan a bit of what you want to say before you talk to them. If you have any evidence then it’s a good idea to give them that too.

The advice on this page has been provided by Childline. Childline have produced a video which shows you what happens if you contact Childline about sexual abuse.