Peer on peer abuse
Abuse may not always be from an older person. Young people are capable of abusing their peers.
Peer on peer abuse can take the form of:
- bullying (including cyber-bullying)
- sexting and any other form of
- sexual or physical abuse.
- Gender based issues can also occur e.g.
- girls being sexually touched/assaulted
- boys being subject to initiation/hazing type violence.
Suspecting your child is being abused
Sometimes a child’s behaviour changes just as a normal part of growing up. Remember, however, that you know your child well. Trust your instincts. If they are reluctant to go online, they become more secretive, or if they suddenly have things they couldn’t afford, then you need to find out more. There is a lot of information on this site about the signs that a child is being abused, and you can also seek advice from organisations such as the NSPCC (0808 800 5000). If you are unsure then one of the best ways to find out is to try to talk to your child about your worries.
Talking to your child
Having a calm and open conversation is one way for you and your child to explore what is happening in an honest and supportive way. This sort of conversation can feel overwhelming but it helps if you make it clear that you are only asking questions because you are worried and want to help. Reassure your child that you are not out to punish them – many children don’t report concerns because they fear that their internet access will be cut off. Pick your moment and bear in mind that children who have been abused will find it very difficult to talk about
If your child has been abused
Finding out that your child has been sexually abused is traumatic and your own feelings are likely to be intense. Your child is probably feeling just as scared and worried as you, but they need to know that you will be calm and loving whilst you go through this tough time together. Let them know that your main concern is that they are safe and that you want to help them.
You can report abuse via the CEOP safety centre.
Try not to be overwhelmed by your own emotions. You may be fearful, angry or have a sense of guilt - everyone reacts differently.
You can get support, advice and help for yourself from the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.