What is abuse?

Abuse is when an individual violates your human and civil rights, to make you come out of your comfort zone and where you feel unsafe and prevented from speaking out.

Who can be at risk?

Children, young people and adults who receive care or have any physical or mental impairments.

What forms can abuse take?

Physical abuse can include:

  • Hitting.
  • Kicking.
  • Punching.

Mental abuse can include:

  • Name calling.
  • Being wrongly accused.
  • Ignorance.

Sexual abuse can include:

  • Touching of your genital parts.
  • Being forced into touching others’ genitals.

Neglect can include:

  • Not having sufficient food or clothing.
  • Being put in danger.

Discriminatory abuse can include:

  • Skin colour degrading.
  • Downgrading the disabled.
  • Sexual status abuse.

The welfare of young people and vulnerable adults is of primary concern.

Who might be causing the abuse? You could be abused by anyone:

  • Family members.
  • Colleagues/Managers.
  • Neighbours.
  • Friends.
  • Strangers.
Where might this happen? Abuse can happen anywhere:

  • At home.
  • At School/College.
  • Within a sports club.
  • At work.


Abuse doesn’t need to happen in a face to face situation; it can also happen in the digital world while using the internet. Find more information about safeguarding in the digital world in this guide published by Becta.

What should you do?

The first step when you feel you are a victim of abuse, is to tell someone who you can trust. There are many people who you could tell:

  • A doctor.
  • A teacher or tutor.
  • A friend.
  • The police.
  • Family.
  • Social services.

What happens next?

If you tell a member of our staff about abuse:

  • They will listen to you.
  • They will help you stay safe.
  • They will find out more.
  • They will give you help and support.

We believe that:

  • The welfare of young people and vulnerable adults is of primary concern.
  • All young people and vulnerable adults, whatever their age, culture, disability, gender, language, racial origin, socio-economic status, religious belief and/or sexual identity, have the right to safeguarding from abuse.

It is everyone’s responsibility to report any concerns about abuse to the safeguarding officer, and the responsibility of the social services department and the police to conduct, where appropriate, a joint investigation. All incidents of alleged poor practice, misconduct and abuse will be taken seriously and responded to swiftly and appropriately.

Where can I find out more?
Important contact details

Co-operative College Senior Safeguarding officer 0161 819 3000
Metropolitan Police 0300 123 1212
Social services www.direct.gov.uk
Sexual Health Line 0800 567 123
National Drugs Helpline 0800 766 600
Age Concern 0208 765 7200
The Lesbian & Gay Foundation 0845 3 30 30 30
Childline 0800 1111
Mind Mental health information line 0845 766 0163