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my friend is being physically abused by her dad

my friend is being beat up by her dad for little mistakes that she makes we only found out the other day when she cracked part of the screen on her iPod she got in such a state that he was going hurt her then she told us that her mum is planning to move to Ireland and does not want to go with her however if she does not go all the parenting rights will be signed over to her dad , we also discovered this was the reason that she has been self-harming and been really depressed we thought she had got over this and we tried to help her to understand that there are things that she can do but she won't listen she says it will ruin her chances of going to university if she gets put into care what can I do ! ?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. I’m really glad that you have got in touch as it sounds like you are worried about your friend.

I can hear how hard things are for your friend at home and it’s understandable that it is affecting her. I am concerned about how things are for your friend. I want you to know that being hit is a type of physical abuse. It's not okay for anyone to be treated like this and physical abuse is often against the law.

It sounds like you are really trying to support your friend right now. You might want to read the page about helping a friend in Explore. It can be hard to know what to do when a friend is upset, but just being there and listening to her will be a big support. If she wants to find out about what help is available, you could suggest that she speaks to a ChildLine counsellor which would be confidential. You can also talk to ChildLine yourself about how supporting your friend is affecting you.

It seems, from what you say, that your friend is worried about staying with her dad if her mum moves back to Ireland. There are options available to your friend and she could explore these further with a ChildLine counsellor or contact her local social services department (a counsellor could find her the number of her local office). You’ve said that your friend is particularly worried about not being able to go to university if she’s put into care. It sounds like that is stopping her from asking for help. It might help her to know that social services don’t put someone into care without exploring other options. They prefer to work with families to help them stay together if possible, unless it’s not safe for a young person to live at home. Even if your friend was in care, that doesn’t have to stop her from going to university. The government has recognised that it can be harder for young people in care to have the support they need to go to university, so they are working hard to make sure that there is extra help available for them. Have a look at this website of the Care Leavers' Association for more information. A lot of universities state on their websites that they really welcome applications from young people in care.

You also mention that your friend is self-harming as a way of coping with her difficult feelings. The self-harm page in Explore offers advice that your friend may find helpful. In addition she could visit the message boards to read about how others cope in similar situations.

If you or your friend would like to talk to a ChildLine counsellor you can call us for free on 0800 1111 or log on for a 1-2-1 chat.

Well done for being such a caring friend.

Take care,


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