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Planning to help someone in an abusive home, she is at risk of being molested.

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  • Planning to help someone in an abusive home, she is at risk of being molested.

    The girl I'm trying to help is currently 15, she lives in California. I am 20, I live in Virginia, have a job, and I'm in college. I'm pretty good at staying calm, being patient and figuring out good ways to deal with people in rough situations but I have some legal questions.
    Names ages and locations have been slightly modified, but are accurate enough to work with, Also we'll call this girl Sarah.

    First, situational info:
    Both of her parents are dead due to workplace accident and terminal illness. Her current legal guardians are:
    1. Her step father, who takes pictures of her in her sleep and whenever she swims (i.e. bathing suit pictures). A bitter angry man, irrational and temperamental at best.
    2. Her extremely apathetic and also temperamental grandmother. She's in her 70s, usually angry or annoyed, pretty checked-out, literally tells the girl regularly that she's just waiting to die. Doesn't care about her really. Says that's one reason she smokes so much. Routinely steals money from her to buy alcohol and cigarettes.
    3. Not a guardian but the main source of danger is her uncle. Visits occasionally. Touches her back and "accidentally" grabs her breasts, tries to get her alone, texts her very often trying to "be her friend", and has manipulated situations to be alone with her where he started touching her under her clothes, trying to feel her up. Her stepdad has joked with him about the pictures he takes of her, and how peaceful she looks....

    Both her guardians are almost constantly fighting with each other, they all live under the same roof and the only time they're not mad at each other is when they team to shout at her. There's a lot of emotional pain and manipulation, it's's a terrible home life.

    I've made it my life mission to get this girl out of there, and to a safe place.
    None of her other extended family or relatives are nearby or remotely viable (all on drugs or out of the picture not in contact at all)
    Her guardians only let her out of the house to go to school, never let her visit friends or even leave the yard. I'm like, the only reasonable person in her life right now.
    I've talked to her at length about how to deal with each of her relatives and guardians, how to talk act and position herself to avoid her uncle, how to cut out toxic people from her life, and how to get her life in order and she's onboard with this plan and my advice.

    My current plan is to save up all my money for when she turns 18, use my current employment options and pay to get an apartment and fly her here the second she would no longer be in legal trouble if she left. I'm thinking of getting a job in the airline to have the flight for free. But that bears more investigation.

    My questions:
    Are there any legal documents, papers, tax info, ID's, medical records, social security number, birth certificate, anything that she would require to move state?
    Or can she just handle all of that and sort it all out when she gets here?

    Also, idk what her eligibility is for emancipation would be like given that her guardians are so unreasonable and abusive. Like many before her, if they ever caught wind of her wanting to leave asap, they would make her life even more restricted and impossible than it already is.
    So I'm guessing emancipation is out of the question, otherwise I'd get her over here on the first flight as soon as I can afford to pay for an apartment and basic needs.

    Thanks for any help you're able to provide.

  • #2
    Thanks for reaching out! This is a tough situation. It is admirable that you are helping Sarah through this difficult time. It is clear that she needs strong support in her life.

    It’s concerning that Sarah is being exposed to sexual abuse, there are several resources as far as reporting this abuse or support to gather options. The first is Child Help (National Child Abuse Hotline) at or 800-422-4453. The second is RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) at or 800-565-4673. There would also be a general non-emergency police phone number for the county she is living in that might be helpful. There is a lot going on in Sarah’s home, and like you said, it should probably be evaluated a lot sooner than she turns 18.

    You listed two questions: We are not legal experts, however, we can talk on general terms. Let’s talk your current plan when Sarah turns 18 and she moves near you. Moving to another state itself doesn’t require any legal documents, however if she has these documents, they are helpful. If Sarah wants an ID in the new state, she would most likely need her birth certificate. Social Security Cards are needed to get a job and fill out tax forms. These can also be ordered for fees after the move if she feels it is dangerous or inaccessible.

    As far as emancipation, in California, for a judge to declare a minor emancipated the minor must be at least 14 years old, living apart from parents with their consent, be managing finances and have a legal source of income, find that emancipation is in the best interest, and that the minor is in school or has a GED. From this information, it looks like Sarah would need to be living on her own successfully with her parent’s consent in California. There are some numbers you can contact to find out more about this: Alliance for Children’s Rights 213-368-6010 is based out of Los Angeles and is available 9-5. Legal Services for Children is available at 888-292-4252.

    Again, we’re really glad that you reached out to us. Sarah really needs help and hopefully some of these options provide answers. If you, or Sarah, would like to talk further about this situation, please do not hesitate to call or chat with us. We’re here to listen, here to help.
    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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