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Privacy in care

Hey Sam, I'm a 17 year-old girl and I live in a children's home. Like most teens I have a lot of sexual thoughts and feelings and want private time. However the staff at the home are always walking in on me watching porn, masturbating or having private phone calls with my girlfriend. I keep asking them to knock on the door and to give me more time to myself yet they still walk in on me. They say that because of my epilepsy they have to keep an eye on me but I dont think this is fair. I enjoy having my private time and am getting frustrated because I cant have it. What should i do?

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Privacy is something we all need so it's not unreasonable to want some alone time. What you do with that personal time doesn't make a difference - masturbation is normal and healthy but it wouldn't change even if you just wanted to sit and read a book. Getting privacy and personal space has a big impact on your emotional and mental health. When in care if you're unhappy with the way things are then your social worker should be there to help you.

Being in care doesn't have to mean losing all of your privacy, although there may be times when that becomes more difficult. Having a medical condition might mean losing some privacy, but you may be able to come to some compromise.

Talking to your social worker is the first step but it would be good to be prepared for that conversation. Try to think of a compromise that works for you and for your carers who want to check on your safety. It might be that you can explain to your carers how important it is to knock first - and if they don't stick to this agreement that your social worker could be asked to talk on your behalf.

Whatever ideas you can come up with it's something that is important to you, so it's okay to keep bringing it up. It shouldn't matter that the reason you want privacy is to masturbate - that's a perfectly normal thing that many people do. Being in care doesn't mean you have to be watched all of the time. It's healthy for you to have some amount of privacy.

I hope this helps but if you'd like more support you can talk to one of our counsellors who will be able to discuss this with you in more detail.

Take care,


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