Child Abuse

Child abuse and neglect are forms of ill-treatment of a young person under the age of 16.

A child may be abused or neglected either directly by inflicting harm and injury, or indirectly by failing to prevent harm or injury.

There are generally five forms of child abuse which are:

  • Physical harm
  • Sexual assault
  • Emotional
  • Neglect
  • Bullying

Often a child might experience more than one type of abuse.

It’s important to remember that it’s not your fault or due to anything that you did. Abusers often hurt others because they want to have power and control over them.

The impact of child abuse can be immense and long-lasting. As an adult, strong feelings and memories can be triggered by different life experiences. Your emotional or physical health may be affected, and you may struggle to cope or to move forward past the trauma. Some of the feelings that you may experience are:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Guilt
  • Helplessness
  • Distrust of others

For many people, talking about their abuse to someone who is professional, caring and independent, from an organisation that helps survivors can be a positive thing to do. We can help you to develop the coping strategies you may need to manage the overwhelming feelings that the impact of childhood abuse can have in adulthood.

Crime can impact you in many ways – emotionally, mentally, physically, financially and practically. That’s why Victim Support Scotland is here to help.

Our support workers and volunteers are available to you in person, over the phone and in the courts throughout Scotland. We support you no matter who you are, and no matter what the crime.

The criminal justice system can be confusing, and we can provide you with practical advice and information to make this process easier. We promise you:

  • We will take the time to listen to you
  • We won’t judge you
  • We will provide you with support in whatever way best suits you
  • We will explain your rights in a way you can understand

Our trained and experienced volunteers deliver support throughout Scotland. There is a Victim Support office in every local authority area and we can support you going to court or in your own community (at home or in our offices).

You can access our services regardless of whether you have reported the crime or not to the police. Our services are free, independent and confidential.*

*We will only alert someone else if we feel you are at risk to yourself or to others.

NAPAC (The National Association for People Abused in Childhood)
UK-wide charity supporting adults who were abused in childhood. Find support in your local area or call the support line – calls won’t show up on your bill and are free from all landlines and mobiles.

Phone: 0808 801 0331
Monday to Thursday, 10am to 9pm
Friday 10am to 6pm

Children 1st
Provides local support for children who have experienced abuse to rebuild their lives, and a dedicated support line for anyone abused while at Fort Augustus or Carlekemp schools.

Phone: 0800 345 7457
Monday to Friday 9am to 10pm, weekends 12 noon to 8pm.

Speak out Scotland
Provides support services for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Glasgow and the surrounding area, including specialist counselling, a self help group and a support.

Phone: 0141 332 9326

Rape Crisis Scotland
Provides a rape crisis helpline and email support for anyone affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives. They can also put you in touch with local rape crisis centres other services for ongoing support.

Phone: 08088 01 03 02
6pm to midnight, 7 days a week

Open Secret
Provides confidential support to individuals and families impacted by childhood abuse or trauma. Most services are based in the Forth Valley area, but some are available throughout Scotland.

Phone: 01324 630100
Monday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm
Friday 9am to 3pm

Ritual Abuse Network Scotland (RANS)
Confidential support and information for survivors of organised/ritual abuse, including a survivors’ forum.

Phone: 01382 224737

Whoever you are and whatever the crime, we’re here to help