Physical abuse

If someone deliberately hurts or injures you or another person, it’s physical abuse. You might be told that it’s your fault, or that they’re punishing you. But nothing makes it okay for someone to hurt you. Abuse is never your fault.


Physical abuse is when someone is hurting you. This could be hurting you with their hands, their feet, or an object. It can involve:

  • hitting, smacking and slapping
  • punching and kicking
  • pinching, scratching and biting
  • shaking or suffocating you
  • scalding or burning you
  • hair pulling
  • spitting or throwing things at you
  • making you swallow something that hurts or makes you feel ill, including giving you medicine when you're not ill or don't need it.

5 things to remember:

  • no matter what the reason, physical abuse is always wrong
  • being abused is not your fault
  • it might feel like telling someone could make it worse, but getting help can keep you safe
  • physical abuse can make you feel powerless. Being hurt is never your fault and our counsellors are always here to help
  • if you’re in immediate danger, you can call the police on 999 and they will come to help you.

sometimes i get bruises
and it's hard to explain why

Talk to our counsellors. It's confidential and free to call.

How physical abuse affects you

Physical abuse can leave you with more than marks on your body. It can lead to you feeling:

These feelings can last long after your injuries have healed. And this can stop you living your life and enjoying yourself. But you can get help and support.

Adam talks about his experience of physical abuse


Why am I being physically abused?

This is a difficult question to answer. People who physically abuse others may give different reasons for hurting someone. Sometimes, they might be struggling with different issues. And certain things might trigger abusive behaviour, like alcohol or drug use.

But this is never an excuse. No matter what someone is going through, it doesn’t make it okay for them to hurt you.

Physical abuse can happen alongside other types of abuse, like sexual abuse, emotional abuse or domestic violence.

telling someone helps

Talking about abuse is difficult. But it helps. Telling someone what’s going on means you don’t have to deal with it on your own. Most importantly, telling someone can help stop the physical abuse. It also means you can start to live a life that’s happier and safer.