Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Dear Shelter

I am looking to move out, i am 15 and going into year 11. I self harm, have been abused and currently attend hospial weekly. I don't know how to tell anyone about anything and am scared of what people will think/say. I believe moving out is the best way for me but how can i when i'm under 16?
Many thanks
Ask Sam



Thank you for writing in. It sounds like there is a lot going on for you right now. I can hear how worried you’re feeling about telling anyone about how you're feeling and what you're thinking.  It's important that you feel safe and healthy, and you deserve to get help to work through some of the things that are going on. It would be really good if you could speak with an adult that you trust, so that you can start to get support. Perhaps one of your doctors or other professionals at your hospital or GP surgery could be helpful as a starting point? Or you could call Childline on 0800 1111, or log in for a 1-2-1 chat.

You don't say in your letter whether the abuse you have experienced is still going on, and whether this is happening at home. Abuse is never ok and it needs to be stopped. If anyone who is caring for you at home is abusing you, then they are not providing you with suitable accommodation or care and you should ask for help from social services immediately. Their contact details should be on your council's website. Social services can help you with accommodation and support when you are under 18, if the person who has been caring for you is not providing you with suitable accommodation or care.

Moving out is a really big step to take and there are many responsibilities and difficulties that come along with living on your own. For a start, finding somewhere to rent by yourself isn't going to be easy for you, as you can't have a legal tenancy while you are under 18. Also, there are all sorts of other issues to think about such as how you would manage living on your own and how you would pay your rent and bills while you are still at school - you can find out more about this on the Shelter website.

Social services will want to support you, but you will need to explain exactly why you believe that moving out is the best option for you. If social services think it is safe for you to stay at home, they may prefer to help you try and sort out the problems at home so you can keep living there. This means it’s really important to be totally honest about what’s making you feeling unsafe.

As you can see, the issues involved with moving out of home and living on your own are complicated and it is important that you get help and understand all of your options. If you would like to talk through the information and advice on your different housing options you could call Shelter on 0808 800 4444. (calls are free from UK landlines and from main mobile networks – Vodafone, O2, EE and Virgin Mobile).

Take care, and good luck.


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