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My friend is being abused by her parents but won't tell anyone but me

My best friend is a lovely girl, but is unfortunate enough to have a family like she does. When she was little she lived in Manchester, but moved to Bristol when her mum had had enough of her dad. Her mum mistreats her and has hit more than once, she makes her do all the housework, and invents horrible punishments when she doesn't comply. The  worse thing is that she says that if my friend tells anyone like the police or Childline she'll buy her  a one-way ticket back to Manchester to live with her dad whom she hardly even knows. She was run over last year, and her parents were really nice, and we thought that things were turning around, but her parents have done it again. This is a note she sent to me. I know I'm betraying her confidences but if she can't/won't do anything about it, then I have to.

I know that you don't understand why I'm sad but my life has just become a living hell. I don't want to tell you this if you don't promise that no one else will know so if you're going to go spreading it around school stop reading now. Ok...Today my mum took away the internet at midday and I wanted to do my homework but I couldn't. This is what happened:

My mum told me to eat all my dinner and I did so, when I finished I went to study on the internet and mum didn't stop annoying me asking if I'd eaten and she was so annoying so I stopped answering so she'd go away but she got angry and turned the internet off and said ' You're left with no internet because you are insolent and it's your fault you can't do your homework.'  I was so worried and upset at school because of this and when I got home I tried to talk to her she said that I am doing this on purpose and its all my fault and you know what she did? I will make you a list:

  • At home they've locked all the doors so I can't get in.
  • There's a lot of humidity dampness where we live and in one of our bathrooms little mushrooms, MUSHROOMS started growing in the shower, and now they've locked the other bathroom and I have to shower with these horrible mushrooms it's so disgusting.
  • They've taken away my hairdryer, conditioner, perfume, deodorant and other hygiene things so that I smell.
  • They've taken away my Nintendo, Mp4, headphones and almost got my mobile, but I hid it cause I knew this was going to happen.
  • They've taken away my keys so I have to go out when they do, and when I get home from school, I'll have to wait 2 hours outside the door waiting in the cold to get in.
  • They say that 'Santa Claus hasn't got any money' so there won't be any Christmas at our house for me, but they'll get gifts and everything.

I hope you don't tell anyone because if they find out they said they can easily get a one-way ticket to Manchester and I won't be able to come home (and all my dreams of becoming a famous singer or actress will go to hell'.

I'm so worried about her, she's suicidal, any help will be appreciated, what I should do, should I tell someone, shouldn't I, should I call the cops, is what her parents doing a crime? Are there any other phone numbers for child abuse 

Firstly, what her parents are doing is definitely child abuse and definitely a crime. People who commit  this kind of abuse rely on their victim's silence.  They will often makes threats and often young people who are experiencing abuse won't tell anyone as they are too afraid of  the threats about what might happen to them if they do tell.

You are a very good friend and obviously feel you have a loyalty to her, this is understandable.  However, if your friend is being abused she is likely to be at risk or in danger.   You must tell someone who is a trusted responsible adult.  Your school will probably have somebody who is trained to deal with these kinds of situations.

Who else can you tell?

You could call The MASH on 01452 426565.  They will pass your concerns on to other professionals who will be able to help your friend and make sure that your friend will be safe. 

It is important to know that when you do report this your details can be kept confidential so your friend or her family will not know who it was that reported this abuse.  But somebody will be able to investigate the situation and make sure that your friend gets the help that she needs.

You can also contact Childline 0800 11 11Opens new window.  This helpline is completely confidential and they will be able to talk with you about the best way forward and how you can report this abuse.   This may be a good place to start.

The most important thing is that you need to do something - you must tell someone as your friend needs help.  When she gets the help and support she needs the abuse can stop and she will no longer be living in fear or be at risk of harm and in the long term she will probably be a lot happier. 


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