AIBU to think about calling social services?

(56 Posts)
Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 10:47:41

Really not sure if I'm being over dramatic here or not. There's a big old house next to us that's divided into quite large flats. We are also in a flat in a house next door but both on the first floor. There are people living in this flat - I've only really seen the children, never the adults. I've seen at least three kids, a couple of whom look like they should be at school but I never see them leave the house. I'm not here all the time obviously and don't spend all the time that I am here looking out of the window so I could just be missing them.
The last two nights I've been woken up by the children crying and screaming and the sound of adults shouting. Not horrendously but the kids sound really distressed, it's goes on for quite a while and it's at 3 in the morning. Last night it was loud I got up and looked across - all the lights were on and by peeking through a side window (too much?) I could see two of the kids lying on the wooden floor of the lounge, I think having their nappies changed and them being covered with a blanket but the lights being left full on. I knew the family that lived there before and there are at least three or four large bedrooms and there were two sofas with nobody on them in the lounge. The kids seemed to be dressed too. The curtains are always closed in all the windows and it just doesn't feel right but I haven't seen anything really clear.

Sorry its a bit long but am I over reacting or should I call someone?

Jinty64 Wed 17-Jul-13 11:13:24

It is very difficult to know but it does all sound a little bit odd. That your instinct tells you "that it just doesn't feel right" suggests to me that you should take it further. SS may already be aware of problems.

It's difficult as you don't want to cause problems for people where there are none and everyone parents differently and this is not necessarily wrong but, in so many cases of abuse others were aware or suspected problems and did nothing with horrendous results.

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 11:18:40

I think that's what I'm worried about - there have just been so many horrible stories recently! Not sure whether they'll take it seriously though but I imagine the people in the other flats must have heard something so maybe they'll call too?

teetering13 Wed 17-Jul-13 11:18:45

Yes .. just phone and say what you have here .. that way you've left it in the hands of those that can help if help is needed ..

Dahlen Wed 17-Jul-13 11:20:06

Based purely on what you've said in your OP, I would. It's not your job to assess the situation or decide on a solution. That's the remit of SS. As a member of your community though it is beholden on you to act when you see something of concern.

lagoonhaze Wed 17-Jul-13 11:20:51

Just call. No need to drama. Just report the facts you have seen. Let them know. If you have further concerns in the future call again. Someones a first referral does score high enough apparently but repeat concerns are prioritised.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 17-Jul-13 11:22:34

perhaps they home educate, perhaps the children have sen and ae still in nappies, perhaps they are just still not dry at night, it is not uncommon, perhaps they wanted to sleep somewhere cool? perhjaps the prents were shouting above the crying... things like "quick he has weed get me some kitchen roll."

on the other hand...

I think I would call SS too.
How long have they lived there?
Next time there is shouting at 3am and you can hear the kids voices I think I would be calling 101 and asking for advice.

If your gut is telling you that there is something not right, then I would be inclined to listen to it. Pass on the information to the relevant authorities and let them decide if there is a problem there.

soverylucky Wed 17-Jul-13 11:29:56

Just call. For all you know they might be known to ss already. I am pretty sure you can call anonymously - or perhaps call childline for advice??

LimitedEditionLady Wed 17-Jul-13 11:33:30

Id phone but it could be nothing but put your mins at rest.It could be just some parents having a hard time of it,people struggle,fact of life.

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 11:37:04

Great - I don't want to be judgy, am sure I've been heard shouting at my screaming children before and still haven't potty trained my nearly 3 yr old but something definitely feels a bit wrong. Thankyou for your advice - feel much less like a nosy neighbour!

I always think it's not our job to decide if there's a problem or not that needs investigating because we aren't qualified and don't have all the information required to make a decision.
It is social services job though. So if you have a concern, report it. If you are wrong, they will find out for you.
If you are right, you have helped children that need it.

Don't second guess what's going on, if you are concerned, report it.

DuelingFanjo Wed 17-Jul-13 11:42:41

Make the call, if they are ok social services will be able to confirm that.

Bear in mind though that with the good weather kids are more unsettled at night and also we all have our windows open so we get to hear a lot more stuff - my street is a nightmare at the moment with wailing kids and shouty parents.

better to be safe than sorry though.

fromparistoberlin Wed 17-Jul-13 11:45:26

yes x

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 12:01:40

Could you elaborate paristoberlin?

Ipsissima Wed 17-Jul-13 12:04:39

Call the NSPCC and discuss your worries with them, as a halfway stage, if you are concerned about instigating a call to Social Services as the first step.

xylem8 Wed 17-Jul-13 12:08:18

How old did the children having their nappies changed, look?

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 12:57:06

It was really hard to see - wouldn't have been unreasonable for them to be in nappies at night though I wouldn't have thought.

teetering13 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:06:05

How long have they been next door?

loopylou6 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:12:51

Just do it, better safe than sorry

Buzzardbird Wed 17-Jul-13 13:13:52

It could be the heat but unlikely if they are fully dressed...most would be sleeping nekid I would have thought?
if your spidey senses are tingling just call for advice. A visit wouldn't harm.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 17-Jul-13 13:16:02

I slept on a wooden floor last night. Because the lower you are the cooler it is.

Perhaps they are following one of the many how to keep cool bits of advice given out on this morning

RoooneyMara Wed 17-Jul-13 13:25:50

call now. good luck.

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 13:52:19

Definitely going to call. We've just been in the garden playing in the paddling pool and saw one of the kids watching from the upstairs bedroom window where they always seem to be. It's a loft conversion with velux style windows and it must be hot up there as the front of the house is south facing. There was an adult male sounding shout and the kid disappeared and the window was shut. He definitely looked about 7 too. Maybe there's a reason for him to be up there - sick or something but why shut the windows on a day like today? There's no air con up there either.

RoooneyMara Wed 17-Jul-13 13:54:35

something is wrong. let us know how you get on.

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