What should I do if I'm experiencing physical abuse?

Physical abusers use violence to control others. You don't have to feel ashamed, and it's essential that you seek help.

What is physical abuse?

Physical abuse involves violent acts like:

  • Pushing, shoving, slapping, kicking, choking, scratching, biting, etc. 
  • Throwing objects 
  • Force feeding or denying someone food
  • Using weapons or objects to hurt someone
  • Reckless driving
  • Other acts that hurt someone or put someone in danger

Abusers make excuses like: “I was upset/having a bad day,” or “you deserved it.” Whether your abuser is blaming you or being apologetic, try to remember:

  • Their violent behaviour is NOT your fault 
  • Physical abuse is NEVER okay or acceptable

The scariest part of physical abuse is that you can get extremely hurt or be in lots of danger. At worst, abuse can lead to death. If you think you're in immediate danger, you should go somewhere you feel safe, and/or contact the police.

How can I deal with physical abuse?

You are the only one who knows your situation best, and here are somethings you can do:

  • Talk to your abuser about the problem, but only if you feel comfortable.
  • Set boundaries for the relationship and tell them that you will leave if these limits are crossed.
  • Leave your abuser if they keep abusing you. This can be really hard to do and it may take time, courage, and support but it can be really good for you.
  • If you live in an abusive home, tell an adult you trust. This can be a teacher or friend’s parent who can help.
  • Call a helpline:
    • Kids Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868
    • Assaulted Women’s Helpline at 1-866-863-0511 or TTY (teletype for people who are hard of hearing) at 1-866-863-7868.

Where can I go if I don't feel safe at home?

If you feel unsafe in your house, you can go to a friend’s house. You can also go to an emergency shelter. These shelters are usually a safe place to stay, have food, and get on-site counselling. Each shelter has different rules and services. There are shelters for:

  • Youth
  • Women
  • Queer youth
  • Young men
  • Non-English speakers

If you think a shelter would be good option for you, you can read more about shelters here or find a youth shelter near you.

How can I plan to protect myself in the future?

A safety plan (or, escape plan) is a plan you make to protect yourself against abuse. To make a safety plan, think of people you can call to talk to or places you can go if you need space from your abuser.

Creating a safety plan by yourself can be hard. Think about asking a counsellor or a friend for assistance. These resources can also help you