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Can I leave home at 16

Dear Sam
basically my dad hits me at times and constantly verbally abuses me and undermines me and to be honest I'm tired of that not only that but he has really bad anger problems and diagnosed  schizophrenia, so after a while I was smoking out my window and left cig buds on my window sill fair enough he was angry but instead of talking about it he beat me and kicked me out of the house , I lived with my auntie for a week then finally came back however I have been hear for a weak and things are no different I have course work to do and I need to leave but can I leave as I am 16?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you so much for getting in touch and letting me know how life is for you, I’m really pleased that you have reached out for some support.

You’ve been so brave to share what is happening with me, it sounds like your dad’s anger problems can be very frightening at times and leave you in situations where you’re not safe. Nobody should be hurting you, this is very wrong and not your fault; no matter what has happened, there’s never a good enough reason for anybody to physically abuse you. You might want to read the Explore page on physical abuse for more information on getting help and support. If you feel unsafe or in any danger remember that you can call 999 for immediate help.

I’m wondering what it would be like to talk to your auntie about how things have been since you moved back home? Or maybe there is a teacher that you could talk to and explain how things are for you at home and how this is impacting on your coursework. Nobody deserves to live in fear and abuse and it’s so important that this stops for you. Your local social services team might be another place to turn to. They have a responsibility to help keep you safe at home.

You’ve asked about moving out for good and I can hear how fed up you are with your dad’s behaviour. At 16 you can legally leave home; however your dad would have a responsibility for you until you are 18 years of age. This means that you would need to prove that you had somewhere safe and appropriate to live, otherwise your dad could try asking the Police to bring you home. The your rights page in Explore offers more advice and guidance when it comes to leaving home. Finding somewhere to live when you’re under 18 can be difficult, but Shelter and your local council should both be able to offer you more information about what help you might be entitled to.

You always have the support of the counsellors at ChildLine, they will listen and support you and you can explore all of your options and choices so that life can be more how you want it to be. You could have a 1-2-1 chat online or call free on 0800 1111, whatever feels right for you.

Take good care of yourself and stay safe.


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