Ask Sam letter


To Sam

abusive dad

I need some advice about my friend.

She told me her dad had an affair and threatened to leave about five years ago. He is abusive to her and her family, verbally and sometimes he hits her mum. Now he keeps threatening to leave and cut off her money for university this year.

Can you give me advice on what she can do to get out of it? Who can she talk to? She doesn't want anyone to know because she is scared. She thinks that if her dad is arrested he'll just come out of prison afterwards and come and get revenge on her. I'm worried she isn't safe but I dont know what to do.

from S*

Ask Sam


Hi S*,

Thanks for writing to me as it sounds like you’re really worried about your friend.

I can hear how much you care for your friend and wish you could do something to help. It’s good that your friend has you to talk to. Being there for her and letting her talk is really important and might just be the support she needs right now.

I’m really concerned to hear what your friend is having to deal with. It’s wrong that she sees her Dad hit her Mum and that he makes her feels so scared. There might be a few options for your friend. As a start, she could talk things through with a ChildLine counsellor and work out what she wants to do. It’s important that your friend knows that if she does decide to talk to someone at ChildLine, it's confidential.

It might be that she just wants to talk to someone else, maybe know her options but just think about things for now and ChildLine counsellors understand that. I know you said she’s scared to talk about it but perhaps you could help her understand that we won’t say anything to anyone else unless she wants us to. There’s a lot of information about Childline's Confidentiality Promise, so maybe you could get her to look at that with you to see how we work and have more confidence in contacting us.

I know that you’re worried about your friend and this is a big responsibility for you to know all of this and not be able to talk to someone yourself. You can always talk to a counsellor at ChildLine and get support for yourself too.

There are a few different ways to talk to our counsellors, for immediate response you can ring us on 0800 1111 or log in for a 1-2-1 chat. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones and won’t show up on bills. You could also send an email and get email replies, however, it might take a little time to reply to these.

Well done for being such a good friend.

Take care,


Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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