How to contact us for advice

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Our advice service

We provide advice to parents, grandparents, relatives, friends and kinship carers who are involved with children’s services in England or need their help. We can help you understand processes and options when social workers or courts are making decisions about your child’s welfare.

Our advice service is free, independent and confidential.

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By phone or email

To speak to an adviser, please call our free and confidential advice line 0808 801 0366 (Monday to Friday 9.30am to 3pm, excluding Bank Holidays). Or you can ask us a question via email using our advice enquiry form.

Discuss on our forums

Our online advice forums are an anonymous space where parents and kinship carers (also known as family and friends carers) can get legal and practical advice, build a support network and learn from other people’s experiences.

Advice on our website

Our get help and advice section describes the processes that you and your family are likely to go through, so that you know what to expect. Our webchat service can help you find the information and advice on our website which will help you understand the law and your rights.

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Emotional abuse definition

Government guidelines define emotional abuse as: “the persistent emotional maltreatment of a child to the extent that it has a severe impact on the child’s emotional development”.

Emotional abuse may involve:

  • Constantly putting a child down. Or making them feel they are useless or not loved.
  • Not giving a child the space to express their views.
  • Silencing a child, or ‘making fun’ of what they say.
  • Expecting a child to do things that are too much for their age.
  • Overprotecting a child. Preventing a child from taking part in normal social activities.
  • Exposing a child to the ill-treatment of someone else. For example, seeing or hearing domestic abuse.
  • Causing a child to feel frightened or in danger at home.

Emotional abuse can occur on its own without other forms of abuse. However, physical abuse, sexual abuse or neglect, involve an element of emotional abuse.

For more information see our advice pages on:

Emotional abuse

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