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To Sam

I'm worried about him

My friend has told me that his mum swears an hits him all the time but as soon as I told him it was abuse he refused what he had just said. He is only 9 years old (like me) and I'm worried that it might affect him in the future. Please help!
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. Being worried about a friend can feel like a big responsibility. You’re doing exactly the right thing in talking about those worries and I’m glad you’ve written to me.

It’s never okay for anyone to swear at or hit your friend. You were right when you said that this is abuse. Abuse is always wrong, no matter how many times it happens. There can be lots of different types of abuse. It might be helpful to read more on the emotional abuse and physical abuse pages in Explore.

Being abused can affect young people in lots of different ways, but it’s never their fault. It sounds like it was frustrating when your friend took back what they had just told you, when you said it was abuse. It’s not unusual for young people to find it hard to talk about abuse, even with their closest friends.

You’ve told me that you and your friend are both 9 years old. Being abused at home is the kind of problem that needs an adult’s help. From what you’ve said, it might be that your friend doesn’t feel ready to speak to an adult right now. If your friend is not safe at home, then it’s okay for you to tell a trusted adult about it yourself. An adult can get them the help they need. Would you be able to share this with someone at school, or with one of your parents? It can feel scary and stressful to be worried about a friend, so it’s important that you have a chance to talk about those feelings and get some support.

When you think about telling someone, it’s important to remember that they can’t always keep what you tell them secret. If you are worried about this, you (or your friend) might want to talk to a ChildLine counsellor before you decide who else to tell. The ChildLine counsellors have a Confidentiality Promise that means they can keep most things private.

You can contact ChildLine in loads of different ways, whether that’s by going online and using the 1-2-1 chats or emailing, or by calling for free on 0800 1111 (the calls won’t even show up on the phone bill).

Take care,


Need help straight away?

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

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