Hello and thank you for using Just Answer. I am an attorney with over 20 years experience and I will be happy to provide you with an answer to your question.
First, I would like to remind you that it is best not to use real names on Just Answer. Conversations on Just Answer, although with an attorney in this case, are not protected by the attorney client privilege and it is possible through certain search engines that someone you may not want to have knowledge of this question could in fact read your questions and all my responses.
With that said, I am so sorry your daughter's friend is having so many problems at home. However, he is very fortunate to have an adult such as yourself in his life who is doing their best to offer advice for his protection.
I would like to start with the last question you asked and then work my way back to the prior question. Then, I would like to offer you some additional guidance which you may want to think about and decide if it is appropriate to discuss it with the young man.
In South Carolina the rules regarding recording conversations vary in shades of gray. For example, if the young man's cell phone has a recording device that he can use to tape record in person conversations (I am referring to conversations not over the telephone) it is permissible to record the conversation if the other party has no reasonable expectation that the conversation is private. Other parts of the law which I have found state that conversations over the phone or electronic communications can be recorded or preserved so long as one party to the communication consents to the recording. Therefore, if the two parties to a phone conversation are the young man and his mother and the young man consents to the recording, then this would be a lawful act. Here is the South Carolina statute which states that recordings are lawful so long as one party to the conversation consents:
S.C. Code Ann. §§ 17-30-20, 17-30-30.
If you google the citation you can read the entire statute.
As for your question of what the young man can do in the future to prove abuse, he has many options. He can report it to his teachers and or his school guidance counselor. He can go to the police station on his own and tell them he wants to make a record so there will be a record of what is happening to him. If he did not tell the doctors at the hospital how he obtained his concussion, he should go back and tell them and ask them to include it in his record. He should take pictures of the indentation in the wall where his head hit and give them to the police and hospital for his report and file. He can go see his regular doctor and tell the doctor everything and tell the doctor he wants the information in his medical file in the event anything should happen to him in the future. He will need to be firm and convicted when he does these things because due to his age he may not be taken too seriously at first. If he in fact feels in danger, he must stress this to all these authorities, explain his mother's illness and that her children were removed from her for a few years and that he wants all this documented so if something serious happens to him people will know it was not an accident.
One issue I would like to make sure you are aware of, although if you are a teacher, I am sure you know this, is that certain individuals have a duty to report child abuse or neglect if they have a strong suspicion or actual knowledge. Teachers are one group who must report. The statue, which is the first link below just states "teachers" it does not state you must be the teacher of the suspected victim. Also, under section 63-7-310 of the South Carolina child abuse reporting statute, entitled "Reporting by Other Persons" if someone has reason to believe abuse or neglect is occurring they have a duty to report. This statute is somewhat hard to interpret because it speaks of Guardian Ad Litems and attorneys, but it basically says they have a duty to report, but the duty of other person to report "is not limited to" Court appointed Guardians or Attorneys. Failure to report a reasonable belief or actual knowledge of child abuse is a criminal offense. I have provided you with a link that states this as well as the punishment for failure to report. If you are in doubt as to whether you should report (if you have not done so already) I urge you to speak to an attorney in your area, face to face so they can advise you what you should do in your particular situation.
Who is mandated to report abuse:
Who to report to:
Penalties for failing to report abuse:
There is one other consideration I would like to inform you of. In South Carolina, once a child reaches the age of 16, they may petition the court for emancipation
. This means they are asking the court to rule they are an adult and allow them to leave home i.e. not be considered a runaway, and function in society as an adult. However, one major component of this is that the child be able to support themselves and show the court they are self sufficient. Another way for a minor to emancipate at age 16 is for the parent to give up their parental rights
. Here is a link to an article pertaining to emancipation of a minor in South Carolina:
I strongly advise that if you choose to suggest this to the young man that you consult with a local attorney so that you have a complete grasp of the requirements.
I hope that this information will help your family's young friend.
If you have any follow up questions, please ask me. I want you to be satisfied with my answer and your experience with Just Answer. I know I have given you a great deal of information. I have tried to cover all the bases to make sure you are fully informed of the general principals of laws in your state which may effect not only your friend but yourself as well.
However, as a Just Answer expert I can offer only the general laws and options that may be available to you. But you should consult with an attorney you can meet face to face with.
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Good luck to you. It is clear from the information you provided this young man has a very promising future and sincerely XXXXX XXXXX is able to reach his full potential.
Thank you again for allowing me to Answer your question.