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  • Not feeling safe.

    I don't feel safe within any of the 3 residences I stay at..

    I'm 17 as of this post, and I am under the legal custody of my paternal aunt. She's had legal custody of me since I was 7, and at first I lived with her, her husband, and their son. Since then, they have divorced, my aunt's behavior towards me has been incredibly emotionally challenging, her husband has nothing to do with me anymore, and her son is also aggressive, at times it can get physical (but hasn't in a while, thank goodness). As of now, my aunt doesn't allow me to stay at her residence, as she has type 1 Bipolar disorder among many other concerning diagnoses, and has blackout spells where she gets violently destructive and the likes. She also acts as if to care less for my wellbeing whenever we interact, and rarely do we have a passive encounter. Now I go between my parents' home and my aunt's father-in-law's home. My parents aren't the best, I was originally removed from their care for neglect and meth usage. Now, they no longer do meth, but smoke weed. And their relationship is far worse, my father sometimes getting physically violent towards my mother. I don't feel safe here, and have had many panic attacks over aggressive interactions with my mother. It has also made my near syncope spells worse. At my aunt's father-in-law's residence, my aunt's son stays there now, as he has no regard to care for either of his parents. He rarely acknowledges me unless he wants to sexually harass me, and my aunt's father-in-law makes me uncomfortable to interact with. He has attempted to sexually touch me, implies he wants to, and makes racist, sexist, and etc. type remarks about not only me, but casual people he sees in public as well. I have dealt with all of this for the past 4 years, among other things previously, and I want out of these situations. I have been told to take the matter to my local DSS or CPS services, but I'm terrified to do so. I don't wish to upset my father, as he's the only person who seems to truthfully care about me, and I don't want my aunt to find out I did so for she'd be angry with me. What do I do? If you need more details, do ask- I'm unsure if I explained this well enough..

  • #2
    Hi there,

    Thank you for reaching out to National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We know it can be difficult to share your story and you are so brave to do so. It sounds like your home and family situation is stressful and harmful. You deserve to be treated kindly by others and to feel safe with your family and at home. You mentioned wanting to get out of these situations. There are many options to consider if you would like to do so.

    A good place to start is exploring if there is a family member or friend that you feel comfortable and safe staying with. The next step would be to get permission to stay with them from your legal guardian.

    You also mentioned some things that raise concern for your safety and well-being. Like you mentioned, reporting this abuse to your local DSS or CPS services is an option. If any harm or abuse is happening at home, you have the right to report it. It is also completely valid and understandable that you are concerned about upsetting your family if you decide to do so. We are not experts on the issue, but generally once it's been reported, social services will either decide whether or not to take the case and further investigate. If you feel like this is an option you want to explore, you may find this website helpful: We can also help you to file a report if that’s the route you are considering.

    Lastly, emancipation is another option to explore. Emancipation makes a youth a legal adult before they reach the age of majority (usually 1. To be emancipated, a minor needs to prove that they can take care of themselves financially, have a place to live and are mature enough to care for themselves. Since you are 17, we recommend exploring all other options first, as the emancipation process can take many months to complete and can be expensive.

    If you would like to talk more in detail to explore your options please call or chat soon. Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button).

    Please be safe and reach out soon by phone or chat so that we can help.

    Take care,
    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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