Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Is it possible to be abused by someone younger than you?

I am 13 and my brother is 8. He is adopted with anger issues. He has autism and FAS. He takes his anger out on me a lot. He will punch,kick,throw stuff,scratch,bite,spit at me,attempt to break my door down and has tried to stab me with a butter kife before. Due to this, me and both my parents are depressed and i have been diagnosed with severe anxiety. I cant talk to either of them as they are in the same situation as me: i just happen to get the brunt of it. I am just wondering that as he is younger than me, is it abuse or am i just a coward? Please give me a solid answer!

Ask Sam


Hi there,

It’s not okay for someone to hurt you, no matter what the reason as this is abuse and it's wrong. When someone has a disability like autism it can mean they act in ways we might not expect someone to behave. Having a disability does not make it okay for someone to hurt another person. Talking about abuse does not make anyone a coward and it takes a lot of bravery to speak up about it.

You have the right to feel safe at home. Knowing your parents are also affected by his behaviour might make it harder to share your feelings, but you deserve support.

Having a family member with disabilities can make young people feel under pressure to cope without asking for help. You may find it useful to have a look at our autism page and the Home and family message board, where you can talk to other young people in similar situations. You could also take a look at our information about family relationships.

Coping with depression or living with people with depression can be difficult. As you've been given a diagnosis of severe anxiety you should be given support and advice about dealing with this. Try reading our tips about managing anxiety for more ideas to how to handle these feelings. If you still feel you are struggling to cope you can visit your doctor to ask for more support.

When you're finding it hard to share feelings or worries at home it’s a good idea to think about talking to another adult about this. This could be someone like another member of your family, or a friend’s parent. You can also talk to a Childline counsellor about any of the things you’ve told me.

Thank you for getting in touch.

Take care,


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