Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Dear Shelter


I am 17 years old planning to run away from home. Well I'm thinking about it....I've always wanted to ever since I was 13. My mum says I can't move out until I am married which is horrible because I can't take living at home anymore. I want to run away because of emotional and physical abuse from my mum and constant arguments. She's always putting me down telling me I'm ugly and a failure and that I'm not good enough. I'm really depressed because of her. She doesn't let me do anything, she doesn't let me go out...not even down the road. There's no one in my family I can talk to, they're all on her side and she loves my siblings. The problem is that when I run away I won't have no where to go. I have my grandma's house but it's closeby and so that's the first place my mum would check and she'd go crazy and I'd be in more trouble. I'm tired of putting up with my mum's violent behaviour and I'm tired of her accusing me of things I didn't do and telling me I'm no good etc. I didn't do anything wrong, she said I was a mistake.

My question is: Can I contact shelter if I actually go? Or won't they help me because I'm a runaway and making myself homeless? Please reply Sam, I really need answers, thank you.

Ask Sam


Thank you for writing in. I can hear how difficult it is for you to live with mum’s abusive behaviour and I’m really glad you’ve asked for some support.

If you are experiencing violence at home, tell a teacher or other adult you trust, or you could call Childline on 0800 1111, send an email or log in for a 1-2-1 chat. It is important that you are safe.

You can call Shelter for advice anytime (even if you are still living at home) on 0808 800 4444. (calls are free from UK landlines and from main mobile networks – Vodafone, O2, EE and Virgin Mobile). Lines are open 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 8am – 5pm at weekends. We would really prefer you to call us before you run away, so we can help you make a plan for staying safe. If you call us once you've actually left home, we will still be able to help, but it's really best to think through all your options and to have a plan before anything becomes an emergency.

It is important that you sort out somewhere safe and secure for you to stay long term. There is more information about running away from home on the Shelter website. As you are under 18 you can't hold a legal tenancy and there would be other things for you to think through such as how you would pay rent and bills while you are still at school and how you would manage living on your own.

It might be good for you to see if you could get help with some family mediation, to help you talk through the issues with your mum. A mediator is a person who can help you talk about your problems together, to see if you can sort them out. For example, as a family you could perhaps agree that you stay with your grandma for a while, until you have worked things through with your mum.

It also sounds like it would be good for you to get help with how low you are feeling. This is something you could talk through with a Childline counsellor, or perhaps your GP. Living with emotional abuse can really start to knock your self-esteem. Spending some time talking to someone like a counsellor can help you start to rebuild your belief in yourself again.

If you really feel that you can't live at home anymore, you could ask your council's social services department (children's services) for help. More details about the help you can get  are on the Shelter website

Take care, and good luck.


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You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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