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I’m being abused. What can I do?

First, know that you are not alone. Usually, children and teens are abused by people closest to them—parents or guardians, other relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers and coaches—the very people with whom children and teens should feel safest. This can make it hard to tell someone, but don’t let it.

Remember that no one has the right to abuse you. No one ever deserves to be abused, and it’s not your fault. Sometimes abusers scare or threaten kids and teens so they won’t tell; it’s important to tell someone if you’re being abused. Adults shouldn’t ask kids to keep secrets. There are people who care about you and want to help.

If you are being abused, you need to tell a trusted adult—a relative, teacher, counselor, school nurse, neighbor, clergy member or parent. If the adult you tell doesn’t do anything to get the abuse to stop, keep telling other trusted adults until someone does something to make it stop.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone you know, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) and press “1” to talk to a counselor. The hotline counselors are there 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The call is free and anonymous, meaning hotline counselors don’t know who you are and you don’t have to tell them.

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