Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I need some advice...

My name is ***. This is my first time writing to Childline, but here goes...
My parents' relationship with my younger brother has been kind of stony lately. Yesterday, when I was doing my homework, I heard crying. I knew it was him, but I didn't bother. I thought it was just another of his temper tantrums. But then, I heard a buckle of a belt. I was alarmed. I nervously looked outside, and I saw my brother at a corner, with my dad holding a belt. There were light red bruises in my brother's arms. My dad was shouting at him.
I was scared for my brother.
I felt this a lot when I was younger, too.
I just went back on doing my homework, trying to drown out my brother's crying and my dad's yelling. It didn't work. I was tearing up a bit.
What should I do? Please write back...
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter and well done for writing to me to get some support.
I can hear that you’re feeling scared for your brother and understand that what you saw must have been a shock for you and very frightening.

From what you’ve said it sounds like you think that your dad had been hitting your brother with his belt. It’s not okay for your dad to do that – it’s called physical abuse and is against the law. It might be a good idea to talk to your brother and find out more about what happened that night and whether anything like this has happened before.

You could also have a think about whether there are any adults in your life who you trust that you could talk to about what has happened. If you’re living with your dad it might be best to have a think about someone away from home - a teacher, a school nurse, a friend’s parent or a youth worker - somebody you feel comfortable with.

ChildLine counsellors are also always here for either you or your brother to talk to about what happened, how you’re feeling and what options there might be. You can do that by calling on 0800 11 11 (all calls are free and don’t show up on the bill) or by using the 1-2-1 chat (it works like instant messenger).

You may also like to take a look at our physical abuse pages for more information and ideas on what to do now. Also please remember if there are any times when you feel that you or your brother might be in any immediate danger you can call 999 for the police.

You’ve taken a really brave step in writing this letter and there is always someone here to support you, whatever you decide to do next.

Take care,


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