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Home > Fitness & Health > Health Library > Physical Abuse
Violence can happen to anyone—males or females, children, teens, adults, older adults, or people with disabilities. You are not to blame. No matter what happened, violence is not okay. Violent people usually have many problems that they find hard to deal with, which can cause them to act out with violence.
Physical abuse includes hitting, pushing, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, choking, strangling, and burning. Physical abuse may come from a stranger, an acquaintance, or a close friend or family member. Many victims of abuse know their attacker.
Violent behavior can also hurt you emotionally. You may feel sad or frightened. Feelings of guilt may prevent you from getting help. But it is important for you to seek help and continue to get help for yourself as long as you need it. Talk to your local child or adult protective agency, the police, or a health professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or counselor. You can also call a local mental health clinic. Any of these people can help you deal with your feelings, get medical treatment if needed, and take steps to stop the abuser.
If you have been abused or assaulted, contact your doctor as soon as possible. If you have questions about how soon you should be seen, you can check your symptoms.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need. These include:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home.
Physical abuse may include:
Sexual abuse is any type of sexual activity that is done against your will. It can be:
If you have just been sexually abused or assaulted, try to preserve any evidence of the attack.
Neglect is a form of abuse. It happens when caregivers do not protect the health and well-being of the person they are supposed to take care of.
Two common types of neglect are:
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need help right away.
Call your local hospital, clinic, or police department, or call an abuse hotline.
You may also call 911.
Based on your answers, you need emergency care.
Call 911 or other emergency services now.
Sometimes people don't want to call 911. They may think that their symptoms aren't serious or that they can just get someone else to drive them. Or they might be concerned about the cost. But based on your answers, the safest and quickest way for you to get the care you need is to call 911 for medical transport to the hospital.
Based on your answers, you may need help soon.
Call your local YMCA, YWCA, hospital, clinic, or police department, or call an abuse hotline.
If you feel threatened, youmust have a plan for dealing with a threatening situation. If a family member or someone else has threatened to harm you or your child, seek help:
If you are no longer living with a violent person, contact the police to obtain a restraining order if your abuser continues to pursue you and act violently toward you.
Here are some things you can do to help a friend or family member.
The most important step is to help your friend contact local domestic violence groups. There are programs across the country that provide options for safety, legal support and needed information and services. To find the nearest program:
The most dangerous time for your friend may be when she or he is leaving the abusive relationship, so any advice about leaving must be informed and practical.
Violence is learned behavior, so it is especially important to help your children learn that violence is not a healthy way to resolve conflict. Living in a violent environment increases your child's chances of developing behavior problems, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, poor school achievement, and lowered expectations for the future. People who are maltreated as children are more likely to abuse others. If you were ever abused, it is very important to get treatment so that you learn different ways to resolve conflict and use appropriate discipline.
If you have been a victim of abuse and continue to have problems related to the abuse, you may experience mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For more information, see the topics Depression, Anxiety, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
If violence occurs again, call your doctor to decide if and when you need to see your doctor or get other help.
Prevent violence in your home.
Keep yourself safe from violence.
If you have made an appointment with your health professional, you may be able to get the most from your visit by being prepared to answer the following questions:
If you need immediate help, call 911.
Another resource for help is the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE, 1-800-799-7233) or see the website at www.ndvh.org for free, confidential counseling and information about local community resources.
Current as of:
January 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency MedicineAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineH. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency MedicineMartin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: January 31, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
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