I know of someone (below the age of 18) who is in an abusive household... how can I get them out of it?

Asked about 2 years ago - Harrison, AR

There are two children that I know, who are living in an abusive household with their mother and step-father. Their mother and the children are verbally, physically, and emotionally abused and neglected. There have been times where I've walked in with the step-dad choking the younger child and other times where the stepdad has walked in on them while they were in the shower or getting dressed. He hits the mother to the point where she's scared to leave him and these children go to school almost everyday with ratted and torn clothes and worn down shoes. The teachers have called DHS almost 7 DIFFERENT TIMES and DHS is STILL not doing anything about it!! Can anybody help??!! I fear for these children's lives!!! Is there anything that I can do to help them within my rights(no relation at all)?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Sara J Powell

    Contributor Level 2

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I am not an attorney in your state, but in most states, concerns regarding child abuse can be made directly to the police. From your question, it sounds as though you have been present and witnessed the abuse/assault. Choking another person is a crime, whether that person is a child or an adult. Perhaps a call to the police would illict a response.

  2. Bernard Weiss

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I am not an attorney in Arkansas and I do not know Arkansas law. But, if DHS will not do anything, there are other ways to proceed. You or the mom can call the local police or the State prosecutor in your county. Alternatively, on the presumption mom has joint legal custody of the children with dad, she can take the children to a battered women's shelter or a homeless shelter. Once she explains her and the children's situation, the shelter(s) will advise her on how to proceed and usually will help her in the process. If neither she nor any of the children will speak up, it may be difficult, but still not impossible. There are other alternatives, but without knowing more, it is difficult to know what more to suggest. Good luck to you and them.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are not intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I... more
  3. Mani Khavajian

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . If they are in danger, or immediate threat of danger, call 911 immediately.

    What can the victim do to get help?

    If you are in danger, call the police, and get a restraining order against the abuser. Domestic violence is against the law. Take your children and go to a safe place like a friend’s house or women’s shelter. If you are injured, go to a doctor immediately. If you fear reporting the abuse due to your immigration status, contact an immigration attorney immediately.

    If you have any questions regarding current or future immigration status contact an immigration attorney before contacting immigration officials at the Department of Homeland Security.

    What can I do if I am a Conditional Permanent Resident and abused by my U.S. citizen spouse?

    If you are a Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) you do not have to remain married to your spouse. You can still become an LPR even if you are divorced or separated from your spouse. If you still live with your abusive spouse you do not need their cooperation to obtain LPR status.
    To obtain LPR status you must file a petition, form I-751, with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) ninety days prior to the expiration of your two-year card. If you have already divorced your spouse, you may file Form I-751 as soon as you are divorced. If you are filing Form I-751 without the cooperation your abusive spouse , you must file under one of the following categories:
    • The marriage was entered into in good faith, but was terminated for good cause.
    • The marriage was entered into in good faith, but you have been the victim of domestic violence or extreme mental cruelty.
    • It would be an extreme hardship for you to return to your native country.

    What can I do if I am a Legal Permanent Resident and subject to abuse from my U.S. citizen spouse?

    If you are a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR), you can divorce or leave your spouse without fear of immigration consequences. You should keep documents show the marriage was bona-fide (real) and evidence of the abuse such as police reports and pictures, if you intend to stay in the U.S. and become a U.S. citizen.

    This is general information and not legal advise. This communication does not create a lawyer-client relationship.

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