Who To Call
  • ChildLine 0800 1111
  • Police Scotland 101
  • Social Work 0300 300 1199
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Emotional abuse

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is when someone keeps saying or doing something that makes you feel bad about yourself, or that hurts your feelings.

It's wrong, even if they are not doing it on purpose. It’s also important to understand that this isn’t your fault.
Emotional abuse can be difficult to explain but it’s the way that it makes you feel that is important. If how someone is treating you and what they say and do to you makes you scared, sad or upset – that’s emotional abuse.


It is emotional abuse when someone:

  • Shouts at you or calls you names
  • Putts you down or tells you that you aren’t good enough
  • Ignores you, stops talking to you or leaves you out of things
  • Says or does things that make you feel bad about yourself
  • Tries to control you or push you too hard
  • Treats you differently from other people in the family
  • Puts you in dangerous situations
  • Makes you see things that are distressing like your parents hurting each other, drinking too much or taking drugs
  • Stops you from seeing friends or going out and having fun for no good reason.

If this is happening to you, it is not your fault – no matter what the person doing it says. No one has the right to do things to you that you don’t like.


Is it my fault if I’m being emotionally abused?

It’s not your fault. Nobody has the right to abuse you emotionally. Sometimes the person who’s abusing you emotionally might try very hard to make you believe that it’s your fault, so that you don’t talk about what’s going on. No one has the right to make you feel this way – it’s wrong. If you’re being made to feel bad, you don’t have to put up with it and it’s the person who’s abusing you who needs to change.


You should talk to an adult that you trust. You can also call:


Childline on 0800 1111
Police Scotland on 101
Social Work on 0300 300 1199 (and 0800 811 505 after 5pm)
NSPCC Helpline on 0800 800 5000

Who to Call

If you are unhappy or worried about something speak to your teacher or an adult that you trust.

  • ChildLine0800 1111
  • Police Scotland101
  • Social Work0300 300 1199
  • Social Work (Out Of Hours)0300 343 1505
  • NSPCC Helpline0800 800 5000