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Problems with Social Services

Hello, Sam.

I am a 13 year-old girl. So, recently, my mom has smaked me over the head me and yelled at me right before school. Nothing much, but I am often sensitive to scolding because I feel like I do not belong. When I got to school, I began to cry, and my friends took me to the Wellfare Office, where I talked with some staff. I told them what happened, and I insisted for the Social Sevices not to be called, because I am not in any real danger of harm. They called them anyway. The SS talked to me right after school hours, and they came with me home. After they discussed with my parents, with no interpretor (which has been offered, English is not our native language) and left, my parents told me that this was the worst decision to ever make, and thanked me sarcastically. Considering that we do not have citizenship or residency status yet, I am really worried.

Also, my parents want to get out of this by pretending they did not understand what the SS said. They requested an interpretor, who will come on the seventh of August. They want to tell the interpretor that mom did not hit me, and that she just attepmted to hug me or something similar.

I feel horrible, because I don't want my parents to have anything on their record, but at the same time I am concerned with my credibility e.g. if something happens to me outside of the house, I might not be believed, and that scares me.

Kind regards from a 13 year old.

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Social services are there to make sure you have a safe place to live. Every family is different and so their job is to look at your situation and decide what would be best for you. They should look at all parts of your home life, not just this one incident, and they should listen to what you have to say.

It wasn't okay for your parents to hit you. If a person smacks someone else over the head it’s physical abuse and a crime – it doesn't make it okay just because it's your mum that did it. Your friends did the right thing by telling the school and your school did the right thing by talking to social services. The important thing to remember is that you haven't done anything wrong, no matter what your parents say.

When you talk to a social worker it's best to just be honest. Sometimes people think that all social workers do is take people away from their family - but that's not true. Most of the time a social worker will try to make things better at home, if it's safe to do that. If this was the only time this has happened then it's okay to say that but if your mum and dad do other things that make you unhappy, tell the social worker. They will try and find the best solution for you.

Unless your parents are actually arrested it's unlikely that a visit from a social worker would have any effect on an application for residency or citizenship. You might be able to find out more on the Law Stuff website or by talking to your local Citizen's Advice service.

I hope this has helped. If you want to practice talking about what happens at home before you talk to the social worker then you can always talk to one of our Childline counsellors. It might also help if you asked other young people about their experiences with social services on the message boards.

Take care,

Sam

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