Sexual, Emotional & Physical Abuse

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During your time at college, you or a friend may experience sexual, emotional and/or physical abuse. This may happen to you personally or to others around you.

Please be aware that should any abuse of this nature occur, there are support services available to you at the Student Health Service at I.T. Sligo.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse is defined as unwanted sexual activity. Offenders threaten, take advantage and/or force themselves on the victim. In a lot of cases, the victims and offenders know each other.

Reactions to this can be :

  • Shock
  • Fear
  • Disbelief
  • Anger
  • Feelings of Loss or Isolation

Long-Term Reactions can be:

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What can you do?

Should you or a friend experience a sexual assault, you do not need to make any decisions now about reporting the assault to authorities but it is a good idea to leave your options open.

  1. Contact your local Rape Crisis Centre as soon as possible. Staff will give you the information you need to help you make your decisions about what happens next and to support you in whatever you decide to do. This will include information about your nearest specialist Sexual Assault Treatment Unit (SATU) 
  2. You can ask a friend to contact the Rape Crisis Centre for you or ask a friend to come with you.
  3. If you decide you want to report the rape or sexual assault to the Gardaí, do not wash until after you have had a medical and forensic examination because important forensic evidence might be washed away.
  4. If you were attacked and you want to report it, don’t eat, drink, smoke or use toothpaste or mouthwash until samples have been taken.
  5. Do not throw out or wash underwear or clothes that you were wearing at the time of the assault as these will be needed for forensic examination.

Where can I get help?

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is defined as ongoing emotional maltreatment/neglect of an individual. It is also known as psychological abuse and can seriously damage an individual’s emotional well-being (NSPCC, 2017).  Emotional abuse can involve anything from deliberately  scaring, threatening, ignoring and/or humiliating an individual.

Emotional abuse can be explained in the following list. However, please note that not all cases will have these factors. Emotional Abuse is highly likely to impact negatively on an individual especially should it continue over a long period of time and lack protective behaviours/factors (Tusla, 2017);

  • Rejection
  • Absence of comfort, love, attachment
  • Inappropriate punishment (e.g. taking possessions away, locking in bedrooms)
  • Possessiveness
  • Lack of “fun”
  • Very little/No praise or encouragement

Where Can I Get Help?

Should you or another student experience this type of abuse, please know you can get support from;

  • Student Counselling Service on  071 93 05463, email, or call to reception during office hours.
  • Student Medical Service on 071 93 05463, email or call to reception during office hours.
  • Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Woman Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900

Physical Abuse


Physical abuse is defined as purposely hurting another individual causing injury and harm such as bruises, broken or fractured bones, burns and/or cuts. Physical abuse may come in the form of being slapped, hit, kicked, poisoned, burned or when items are thrown at you. Physical abuse is one of the most visible signs of abuse, it can start off as something small and build to something out of control.

Your time in college is where you learn a lot about yourself. Relationships are a big part of college- both sexual and platonic- and you will find out a lot about yourself from these experiences. Unfortunately, you may experience negative relationships and these can have a great toll on your mental health. The following is a list that will help you in recognising whether you are in abusive relationship or not. Most individuals who are in an abusive relationship will experience a range of these behaviours from the offender. Please know that you do not need to experience all of these to be in an abusive relationship.


Criticism and Verbal Abuse:

  • Shouting
  • Mocking
  • Accusing
  • Swearing
  • Threatening


  • Telling you what to do & where to go
  • Stopping you from seeing friends and family


  • Following you
  • Opening your post and emails
  • Embarrassing you in public

Breaking trust:

  • Lying
  • Being jealous
  • Cheating
  • Breaking promises


  • Being patronising
  • Not listening/interrupting
  • Taking money from you without asking
  • Refusing to help

Pressure tactics:

  • Sulking
  • Threatening
  • Lying to friends and family
  • Threatening suicide

Physical violence:

  • Punching
  • Slapping
  • Hitting
  • Biting
  • Pinching
  • Kicking
  • Pushing & Shoving
  • Burning
  • Choking
  • Raping


  • Blaming you
  • Being gentle/patient in public
  • Crying and begging for forgiveness
  • Saying it will never happen again


  • Intimidating
  • Shouting
  • Breaking/Destroying your possessions
  • Punching walls
  • Holding a knife or a gun

Sexual violence:

  • Using force
  • Threatening/Intimidating you to perform sexual acts
  • Having sex with you when you don’t want to have sex
  • Degrading treatment based on your sexual orientation (SafeIreland, 2017)

Where Can I Get Help?

If you have experienced abuse, you must seek help. You should not have to deal with this on your own. Support is there to help handle the situation and make it much easier on you to make a decision on what you want to do.

  • Student Counselling Service on  071 93 05463, email, or call to reception during office hours.
  • Student Medical Service on 071 93 05463, email or call to reception during office hours.
  • Samaritans on 116 123.
  • Woman Aid National Freephone Helpline on 1800 341 900
  • Sonas Emergency Help 01 866 2015