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?

xylem8 Sat 20-Jul-13 20:51:20

To begin with you say their flat and yours are both on the first floor, then you say it is a loft conversion but you can still see the floor so presumably must be looking down at the window from above.
Then you say you have regularl;y seen children at the windows, but the curtains are always drawn.
Have you though the curtains might be drawn to keep the sun out and closed because they have a mobile air con unit
How on earth do you know they never go out. Their curtains are always drawn and I can't imagine you spend more than a tiny proportionof your time watching their front door!

RoxyFox211 Fri 19-Jul-13 14:56:40

Im going against the grain here but I would have definitely wanted more evidence that something was wrong before informing ss. Even if they found nothing amiss their names would still be registered somewhere & could make life difficult for them later down the line. I dont really understand what you think is going on? They're up in the night having nappies changed in the living room? What's the problem :s ?? That being said I'm the only one who seems to think this way! Would never get involved unless there was clear evidence of abuse. sometimes my daughter wakes in the night and runs around naked (specially in this heat) shouting. It's very difficult to cool/calm her down. I'm paranoid someone will report me or something now, which would destroy me. Our house isn't very tidy or anything, and we're a bit odd. but our daughters well looked after and very healthy.

GoshAnneGorilla Fri 19-Jul-13 11:02:17

OP you did the right thing.

Satnightdropout Fri 19-Jul-13 11:01:28

*hoping she would CHANGE.

Satnightdropout Fri 19-Jul-13 11:00:26

Well done for calling up, I would've done the same.
Social services don't like to rip families apart contrary to popular belief. My mum knew a lady that had social services called on her for serious offences like tying her 3 year old to the bed because she wouldn't stay in one place, and going days without feeding them. Regardless of this, social services gave her numerous chances, even paid for a little holiday at the local caravan park to give them a change of scenery, hoping she would. She didn't and her kids were taken away from her (rightly so), but this was after yonks of social services trying their best to make her a better parent.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 19-Jul-13 10:37:54

(so lets not be Dueling Fanjos winkgrin)

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 19-Jul-13 10:36:29

A very good friend of mine WAS a CP social worker before she had kids in fact.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 19-Jul-13 10:30:51

Am definitely NOT ripping into them as a profession.

We have a wonderful social worker who has supported us amazingly and whom I will be eternally grateful for.

But i DO know others who have met jobsworth types with no understanding of their situation who have made their lives very difficult.

Like all professions there are some less good practitioners and the difficulty is they hold power

DuelingFanjo Fri 19-Jul-13 10:16:48

In general Social Services are not into creating shit-storms for families, even the ones in difficulty. If the child are not deemed to be at risk then in general social workers will leave the case alone and if they are at risk they will mostly work WITH families to HELP them rather than break them apart, though I am sure these facts won't deter people from ripping into social work as a profession and spreading scare stories.

FanjoForTheMammaries Fri 19-Jul-13 10:02:03

I know people who have had no issue and been contacted by SS and they didn't just "move on" and indeed a can of worms was opened.

fromparistoberlin Fri 19-Jul-13 09:59:39

"If they had just reported us to social services it would have opened up a horrible can of worms for us."

I dont agree. If SS contact people and there is no issue, then they can move on. SS contacted my SIL as my niece broke her arm. No biggie, did not "open can of worms". I dont agree that people should contact parents first

time after time we read about kids and wonder why noone did anything, fucking devastating

Sconset Wed 17-Jul-13 20:33:55

In our authority, if a family move in it can be weeks or months until they get a school place... there may well be valid reasons the children are home 24/7. And if 1 child does have a disability, it may be nigh on impossible for a parent to take them all out.

spleenyone Wed 17-Jul-13 20:27:34

You definitely did the right thing. Thank goodness those children have a neighbour who doesn't just turn a blind eye. You were concerned, with good reason, you reported it, and now the professionals can act, or not, accordingly.

dirtyface Wed 17-Jul-13 20:24:03

just do it. its anonymous. and from what you have said i would be worried too

i did it a while ago because of a situation i was aware of, and i am so glad i did

Isildur Wed 17-Jul-13 20:13:59

They've only lived there a month hmm.

Simbaline Wed 17-Jul-13 19:39:23

I was very clear when I spoke to social services that I was raising concerns but that it was very possible there were other explanations for what I had seen. I did do a bit of research on what to do having never come across this before and all the information on what to do if you had concerns re the welfare of a child that I read said not to approach the parents unless you knew them and not to wait until you were sure and that a lot of these cases would have benefitted from early intervention.

I certainly don't think they're going to go in all guns blazing from my report and I'm not sure I would have called if I thought the kids were in any way linked in in terms of school, groups, activities etc but they seem very isolated so I don't know who else would identify it if there is a problem.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 17-Jul-13 19:11:01

The coolness on my skin was worth the sore joints grin

WeGotTheKrunk Wed 17-Jul-13 18:05:28

You did the right thing Simbaline. It might be that there's nothing untoward going on, in which case, no harm done. But if there is something amiss, you've done the kids a favour. It is known that some abusers move area frequently, often as a way of staying away from the watchful eye of social services / child protection. Kids can so easily slip through the net that way. you did the right thing. flowers

FirstStopCafe Wed 17-Jul-13 17:45:26

I think you did the right thing by following your instincts

FanjoForTheMammaries Wed 17-Jul-13 17:45:01

Hear hear. I wish you had approached them first.

My DD used to have night terrors and also scream a lot at night, eventually the upstairs landlord contacted us and mentioned her tenants had heard her, we could then explain about DD's issues and they were understanding. DH and I also shouted at each other a bit when she had the night terrors because we were so stressed out.

If they had just reported us to social services it would have opened up a horrible can of worms for us.

The sleeping on livingroom floor thing sounds odd but not abusive IMO.

zoraqueenofzeep Wed 17-Jul-13 17:41:55

Sorry just noticed your last post, hope your right, it will be horrible for loving parents to be invaded like that for no reason other than a neighbours paranoid fantasies.

zoraqueenofzeep Wed 17-Jul-13 17:39:51

It doesn't help abused children to be lost in amongst thousands of reports of false allegations. Go over and introduce yourself, you might find that they have kids with disabilities, may be home educating and are not the abusive parents you've imagined in your fantasies (which is all your going on at the moment). My new neigbours have a child who screams all night, he's autistic, luckily for them nobody round here is crazy or nasty enough to waste time calling ss when we can knock on their door and get the facts.

They don't need the stress of your (probably wrong) assumptions causing them upheaval, if you call over and see a pair of drug addicts answer or very aggressive people then you can consider yourself justified in your concerns but at least have the decency to find out first.

fromparistoberlin Wed 17-Jul-13 17:03:19

yes, you should call them. better safe than sorry

I was reading about daniel pelka (bless his soul) and jesus, dod none iof the neighbours hear or see anything? clearly not

RoooneyMara Wed 17-Jul-13 16:06:10

Thankyou for calling them. I am grateful to you because I'd have been very concerned about this otherwise and now I know that those in the know, are aware of it, and if something is going on that shouldn't be, then hopefully it will get sorted out.

You did the right thing.

valiumredhead Wed 17-Jul-13 14:49:47

In not on

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