kittyrescue asks:

I have a 19 year old daughter.  She has an abusive boyfriend. She still lives at home.  What can we do to stop this situation?

My daughter is a beautiful girl that has an abusive boyfriend can I do anything to stop her from seeing him?   She has told me he is verbally abusive, had shoved and slapped her.  I tell her the abuse will never stop and will eventually get worse.  She is not mature enough to understand this.  Yet she says she is in love with him.  She lies to get out of the house to see him.  I think of terrible things I want to do to him.  I feel terrible inside to say the lease and feel helpless.  I want he to seek help but she has no medical insurance to see a therapist. Please can someone give me some guidance?
In Topics: Teen issues
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 10, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

We are so sorry that your daughter is in this situation. It must be very difficult as a mother to watch your child be harmed by someone, and it is very understandable why you feel the way you do. You are also correct that your daughter's boyfriend is not going to change unless he gets help for his anger and wants to change his behaviors.

Since your daughter is 19, in most states the laws holds that you are no longer legally responsible for her. But you still can report the abuse and file a restraining order against him. Unfortunately this will only go so far. Your daughter already is sneaking out to see him. But, it is important to have a record of the abuse.  Each time she comes home with a bruise or tells you that he has hit her, call the police. She will probably be angry with you, but so be it. You are looking out for her safety and as long as she is your daughter you will do your best to make sure she is not abused.

The chance you risk with reporting him is that your daughter could decide to not tell you when he hits her again, or she may decide to move out. Hopefully it will not come to this, but unfortunately because she is considered an adult, there is only so much you can do.

You can also strongly suggest that your daughter speak with a counselor. Many domestic violence shelters will provide free or very low cost counseling.  You can't legally force her to go, but you can make it tied to privileges she is getting. For example if you are paying for her car insurance, you would tell her that you will drop her from your insurance if she does not follow through with talking to a counselor. This is a tough love approach, and hopefully she will decide on her own that she should talk with someone before you would have to make this decision. Throughout it all, you let her know that you are concerned about her and are making these decision to help her.

To find a counselor or a center which specializes in domestic violence issues, you can try calling your United Way, by dialing 211. If you are not able to access that number, you can try searching on the Internet for the United Way location near you. You can also call us, we talk to parents and teens every day who are struggling with many different issues including abuse and domestic violence. We can also find referrals to counseling other services in your local area. We are here 24 hours 7 days a week.

Thank you for reaching out. We hope to hear from you or your daughter soon.

Cynthia, Crisis Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
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