Women may experience abuse by their boyfriend or husband. It could be emotional, verbal, physical or financial abuse. Children may suffer from abuse by parents when they are neglected, physically abused, sexually abused or emotionally harmed. Elders may be abused physically or financially, and men may be physically abused by female partners. Whatever the relationship, you can learn to manage the risk, so there is no further risk, harm or abuse. There are also social service agencies to provide support and intervention.
Identify abusive behaviour. In adult relationships, abuse may take the form of one partner yelling or belittling the other partner, withholding finances, controlling their freedom, or pushing or hitting their partner. Parents can neglect their children by not providing adequate supervision for them, such as leaving them alone at home when they are too young. It is considered physical abuse to spank children in today's society.
Contact your local community and social services department for help. If you know of a child who is at risk of harm or that you suspect is being abused, you need to report it to the authorities. In Canada, you would contact your nearest Children's Aid Society. Hotlines to report child abuse are available in every state in the United States. You can report suspected child abuse anonymously.
Call your local women's shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help and support, if you are being abused by your boyfriend or husband. If you and your children are being physically abused, go to your nearest shelter for abused women and do not let your partner know where you are going. Most men do not stop hurting women physically unless they have professional intervention. You need to ensure your safety and the safety of your children. You can stay at a shelter for free and get counselling and legal advice there as well.
Establish boundaries with a partner that is verbally or emotionally abusive. Tell him that you will no longer tolerate abusive behaviour from him. If your partner starts to yell at you or call you names or put you down, tell him in a calm manner that you are leaving the room until he can speak respectfully to you, and then leave the room. Do this as many times as necessary until he understands that you will not allow any more abuse. If your partner still abuses you emotionally or verbally, you need to ask yourself why you are staying in an unhealthy relationship.
Report concerns to your doctor or a trusted family member, friend, or neighbour, if you are a senior who is being abused or taken advantage of by a caregiver or anyone else. Seniors are at high risk of being physically, emotionally, and financially exploited due to their vulnerability. Call Adult Protective Services in your area if you or someone you know may be abused.
If you are a child who is being neglected or abused in any way by your parent or a caregiver, tell a teacher or school guidance counsellor or any adult you can trust about what is going on in your home. There are also hotlines you can phone to get help like the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453).
Physical abuse is a crime. Emotional harm can damage adults and children by seriously affecting their self-esteem. You should not tolerate abuse of any kind.