What can a 12-year-old do when their father is emotionally and verbally abusive?

You should talk to an adult in your family such as grandparents or an aunt. If your relatives don't live close then you can talk to your school counselor or a priest or pastor. You can also go to Child Welfare on your own and put in a complaint. It will be investigated and depending on the findings you could become a ward of the court and put into foster care. Good luck! * Unfortunately, social services in the US does not consider verbal and emotional abuse a legal issue. State agencies that handle such matters would suggest family counseling but would take no further action unless the child or children had been neglected, physically abused. Because all such agencies private and public are understaffed and underfunded their resources are extremely limited in what action can be taken when the issue is not one of physical abuse or child endangement. If a child believes themselves or other family members to be in danger of immediate physical harm they should call 911 for assistance. It is the moral duty of everyone to report abuse of children, physically or mentally disabled, elderly or indeed any person who is incapable of helping themselves. National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-422-4453 or 1-800-252-2873 National Youth Crisis Services, 1-800-448-4463 Teenline Online, http://www.teenlineonline.org, A website staffed by trained teens to aid young people in finding assistance and solutions for their problems.