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To Sam

She's not safe, she's being neglected

I am worried about one of my best friends.
She doesnt eat because she says she has no money, I dont think she washes herself and I feel her mum doesnt take care of her properly. Though she has a good relationship with her mum I think her mum neglects her. She doesnt have money to eat dinner. I often have to pay for a snack for her, because she is hungry. I dont mind but she is always hungry and shrugs it off when I ask her why she doesnt have money. She has been in care previously and one time the electricity was off at her home because her mum couldnt pay the bills.
I found out from my other best friends that she was in care previously. My other friends cant approach her about her problems as they are worried she might become very upset with them. I cant approach her as she hasnt told me things about her- like she was in care- so if i do approach her she just says she is ok and tells me not to worry.
This has been going on for a long time and I am now absolutely sure that she is being neglected. Today she told my other friend that her mum has gone on a trip - she left a note and "plenty of money" and on the note it said she would be back in two days. I am scared for her well being and safety because I am unsure of her mum coming back. Also she has a 10 yr old brother, who she says her older brother will look after. I dont know how to help her but she definately needs help and urgently. The school have only caught on now that something might be happening, but I feel they will not do enough to help her.
Please reply back sam
Ask Sam


Hello there,

Thank you for your letter.

I think that you have shown great care, consideration and concern for your friend by writing to me. From what you've told me, I can understand you being worried about your friendÂ’s safety.

Every young person has the right to be loved and cared for at home. They should also be given help with their basic physical needs, like food and shelter and warmth as well as clean clothes and washing facilities. It sounds like your friend may not be getting the love, care and help from her family that she deserves and therefore she could well be at risk of neglect. (You can read more about neglect in the Explore section).

I can hear that you've already tried to talk to your friend, but she just tells you she's ok. I imagine it could feel really upsetting not knowing what to do next. You mentioned that you think your school might be picking up that something isn't quite right at home. I wonder what it would be like to talk to an adult at school about your own worries about your friend? Sometimes young people tell me that they're worried about sharing their concerns about friends, because they don't want to feel like they are breaking their trust. If you think your friend isn't safe, then involving an adult is the right thing to do. Your school  have a responsibility to help your friend stay safe, so they should make their assessment of what they know and respond appropriately. In your letter, you say that you are aware that your friend has previously been in care and that will mean that she will be known to social services and that could speed up any referral that the school may decide to make on behalf of your friend.

Talking to a Childline counsellor might also be something worth considering for both yourself and your friend. You can contact them by sending an email through the website, by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat (like instant messenger) or by calling us for free on 0800 1111.

Take care,


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