My friend is being hit at home
A new friend of mine’s parents seem to be abusing her . From what I have heard they call her a disappointment and disgrace and hit her a lot. She cuts herself too. What do I do?
Hi there and thank you for contacting Ask Alex,
Firstly, can we say what a good friend you are for reaching out for help for your friend. You talk about how your friend’s parents seem to abuse her, calling her a disappointment and disgrace and are also hitting her. No one has the right to harm anybody in any way, physically, emotionally or sexually. It is parents/guardians’ responsibility to care for their children, to protect and listen to them
Your friend has the right to get help and support and to talk to someone about how they are feeling. They have the right to be listened to and heard about what they are experiencing. Does your friend have an adult that they could speak to about what is going on for them? Somebody who can help the abuse to stop.
Young people have the right to report any concerns of abuse to Social Workers or to the Gardaí. Túsla is the Child and Family Agency in Ireland. The social workers within Túsla are there for young people under the age of 18 years, and their job is to keep children and young people safe at home. You can find your local Túsla office here www.Túsla.ie/get-in-touch/local-area-offices/ if you or your friend would like to get in touch with them or even get information. If your friend ever feels unsafe or in danger at home, they have the right to call the Gardaí at 999 or 112.
You also tell us your friend cutting herself. People can use self-harming as a way of coping when they feel stressed or are faced with challenging situations. However self-harm is not a positive coping skill, and it is important that your friend reaches out for help so they can be supported in understanding why they self-harm and be given alternative positive coping strategies when they are feeling under stress or faced with difficult situations.
There are many organisations that can support your friend with this. If your friend is over 16 years, they can attend their local GP who can make a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). If they are under 16 a parent or guardian will need to accompany them to the GP. Pieta House is another organisation that supports young people who are engaging in self-harm www.pieta.ie.
We wonder do you have a trusted adult that you can speak too around what is going on for your friend, who can support you in supporting your friend. It is important for you to get support too.
If ever you need to talk about things and you don’t know who to go to, please know Childline is here for you. We will listen and support you whenever you need us. You can call us on 1800 66 66 66 or use the Live Chat on our website www.childline.ie. We are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You do not have to go through anything alone.
Take care of yourself, please get in touch soon.