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I want to help my friend but dont know how.

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  • I want to help my friend but dont know how.

    hello! my friend and i both live in texas. my friend is 15 and i am 20. his parents constantly manipulate him and guilt trip him and any time that he is percieved as him back talking (even if its just him pointing out a small mistake) or does not follow what his parents say they tell him he will be beat. for example i play video games with him throughout the entire day because of quarintine and i hear them yell at him because his parents are constantly telling him to get them a refill, go unload the dishwasher, go in the pool, go get me an ice pack, go get me this go get me that. and if he doesnt do it they threaten him. he cant go anywhere without a parent or an older sibling and is constantly being barraded as if he is their personal servant. today it got bad. he smashed his finger by accident and it broke almost in half and was bleeding. he went to tell them and they told him to leave them alone. he asked me if they would even care if he amputed his finger in that moment. he has become super depressed over this and feels as though he is worth only being a servant to them. my question is this. if he decided he wanted to leave could he legally live with me and my boyfriend? he is gay and his parents dont accept his sexuality at all, no self expression ever. i know that he can be emancipated at i think 16 or 17 but lets say he does that. would he legally be allowed to live with us? i am scared that he knows they wont let him go easily because of how they use him for literally everything so he will never try to leave. i just want him to be happy and i know that if he lived with me i would do everything in my power to show him how happy and beautiful the world really can be. i was abused when i was a kid and i know for a fact that there is so much fear in leaving or reporting it. i never got the help i needed so i want to give him that help because he deserves the world.

  • #2

    Thank you for taking the time to write us here at NRS. We appreciate you sharing your friend's situation with us and he is lucky to have an advocate on his side. While we are not legal experts, we can speak generally regarding your questions and concerns.

    Your friend's parents are his legal guardians and are responsible for him until he turns 18. This means they can decide where he lives. If your friend leaves without permission from his parents, they can report him as a runaway to the police. Running away is not illegal, but it is a status offense. This means his parents can ask for help from law enforcement to return him home. Whoever he stays with is at risks of being charged with harboring a runaway.

    You mentioned some things that do raise a concern for your friends safety. He deserves to feel safe and does have the option to report to child protective services. This may not guarantee he would be removed from the home immediately, but it could start a process with that outcome. As you mentioned, reporting abuse can be intimidating and scary. You or your friend can speak with an advocate at to learn more about what reporting might look like for him as well as help with making the report.

    Emancipation could be another option for him as well, although this is a lengthy and difficult process. Most states have a minimum age of 16 to file a petition and require that the individual show they can live independently as well as financially support themselves. If you friend would like to learn more about this and if it is a viable option, we can connect him with legal aid resources if he contacts us directly by phone or chat. If your friend is successfully emancipated then he would have the responsibilities of an adult as well as the legal freedom to choose where he lives.

    Another helpful resource for your friend might be The Trevor Project ( It is a crisis line specifically for LGBTQ youth and it has an online space for youth to connect with their peers. Multiple lines of support can be important in abusive and stressful situations.

    Your friend is also welcome to contact us anytime if he would like to talk more about his situation and explore his options. We are available 24/7 for immediate support by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or through live chat at

    We wish you the best,
    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)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


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