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What to do about emotionally and physically abusive father?

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  • What to do about emotionally and physically abusive father?

    I don’t know if this is the right place or way to ask this, but I really am just looking for some help/advice.

    My father has been mentally and physically abusing my (autistic) younger brother for as long as I can remember. Not so much me anymore, as I stay away on a seperate floor of our house.

    He has some sort of anger issues and has always screamed at my brother and called him names over the smallest things. Basically, I was talking with my brother yesterday and I was not even aware how extreme it was.

    My brothers says that, on seperate occasions, my dad has: poured (cooking) oil on his head and screamed at him, thrown him on a wooden chair and broken the chair, spit on him, punched the TV and broken it so that he couldn’t watch it, and so much more. He even told me that my dad said to him that he wishes (my brother) would die already; and then my brother looked at me frightenedly asking if he actually was going to die.

    I believe 100% everything my brother is saying, and think that what my father has put him through is awful. My brother always has sratches on his neck, etc. - I don’t now how they’ve never noticed at school by now. I don’t feel comfortable having my father in my house. Morally, I think he deserves to be punished but I don’t know how to proceed.

    My mother has always been too scared to report him/call the police or anything (he used to abuse and scream at her too). She doesn’t want to upset him or make him mad. Child protective services were called once on our house, but my mom says that my father lied to them and talked about how great of a dad he was. My brother again is autistic and lacks good communication skills, so he had no way of telling protective services the truth. I was young, didn't know what was happening, and was too scared to speak up, so the case was "unfounded."

    But, is there anyone my brother can try to talk to? Anyone I can call? I’m trying to keep him away from my dad’s floor now to prevent any further abuse, but I can call police if more occurs? My mom doesn’t want me to do anything though and doesn’t want my father to go to jail (what she thinks would happen). However, is there any way to report him and force him to go to therapy or something, as he genuinely has some sort of anger issues or mental health problems?

    I just have this all in my hands now, and I don’t know what to do.

  • #2

    Thank you so much for reaching out. We are so sorry to hear about the abuse your brother has had to suffer. He does not deserve this in any way, and it sounds like your father's abuse has been going on for a long time. We are here to listen and support you in any way that we can. It sounds like you really care about your brother and want to protect him. It is understandable to feel unsure about your options, since your mom does not want to report your dad. Many women who have been abused struggle to report abuse, even when it targets their children. It is understandable that she would feel this way. It sounds like your brother's autism prevents him from being able to advocate for himself and communicate. You have the option of reporting the abuse and letting social services know what is happening to your brother. One resource that could be helpful is Child Help USA, a national child abuse hotline. You can call them at 1-800-422-4453 or go to They can help with any questions you have about abuse laws or the reporting process. We can't say for sure what the outcome of an abuse report would be, or whether your father would be charged with a crime. Many parents who are investigated for abuse allegations do end up getting court ordered therapy or anger management classes, however we can't say whether this would be the case for your father. We could also look into finding some resources for your brother to go to counselling or therapy. Therapists are mandated abuse reporters, and he may be able to get some services and also talk to someone about what is happening who can help advocate for him. There may also be organizations that specialize in working with autistic youth. You could also try bringing this up with your brother's pediatrician or school. If you need any resources, or you want to talk so we can help you decide what to do, give us a call any time. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon, and wish you the best of luck.
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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