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What are my rights?

Hi Sam, I've got a problem and it's starting to get to me physically now, when I was 14-15 I was kicked out of my house and out into a caravan in the garden by my father and since I was kicked out my dad bully's me. When I leave to go out with my friends, I lock my door but my father keeps getting keys cut to fit my door and breaks in to it when I'm not there, I am now starting to feel I can't leave my cravan to go see my friends with out having him get in.

It's atarting to really annoy me and get to me and it seems that he just doesn't trust me, he accuses me of everything like stealing and assault. Not that long ago I had friends over and he didn't like it and came out and got  in but because I smoke tobacco he went mental and unplug my power so I was in the dark. So I went out and put it back on then when back into my caravan, but he just unplugged it again, but when I went out the second time he hit me and since I was already getting angry as well I hit him back and broke his glasses and gave him a black eye. After we had the fight he phoned the police on me and said I had assaulted him, and tried to get me done for hitting him.

I am 16 now and I just don't know what to do, my girlfriend is trying to help me and even she is getting annoyed at it. Is he aloud to hit me and get me nearly get me arrested for assault if it's on his garden? Thank you

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Sam

Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds as though things are tough at home for you with dad. I can see that you have unusual living arrangements and do not like your dad invading your private space when you are out. Perhaps changing your lock and keeping the keys with you at all times will stop him getting more keys cut and help you maintain your private space.

In answer to your question, no one has the right to hit you. It doesn’t matter if it is your dad or a complete stranger. What he did was assault you, and you could have reported that to the police when they arrived. If you want to report his assault on you, then phoning 101 which is the police non-emergency number would be the best way to do that. It may also be an idea to talk to social services about your living arrangements, as they may be able to support you and dad to have a better relationship. You could speak to a counsellor at ChildLine about how to get in touch with social services. You could also speak to an adult who you trust about this. Read our page about asking an adult for help.

It is hard to give you more definite advice without knowing who owns the caravan, who pays for the electricity that you use, or who else lives in the house with dad. The Children’s Legal Centre can give you all the legal help you need for free. 

It is good to hear that you have the support of your girlfriend and perhaps she and her family can support you through this difficult time. You could talk to a ChildLine counsellor for emotional support by ringing 0800 1111, sending an email or logging into 1-2-1 chat. You could also get the support of other young people on the Home and family message board.

I hope that this helps.

Take care,
Sam

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