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After some advice - new friend suffering DV(14 Posts)
Moved recently and got to know a lovely girl, at the time she was newly single. She's recently got back with her partner and I'm hearing some pretty horrible things. He's dragged her down the main road by her hair, smashed her phone up and the other day showed a mutual friend of ours a horrific bruise that she'd received for not doing some housework to his standards. This time he wasn't drunk.
She hasn't spoken to me about this, so I'm not supposed to know, but several other friends know about it and we're trying to keep an eye out for her.
At the moment she seems to be confiding in our mutual friend, but still saying that 'he's not a bad person', he's always sorry, he doesn't mean it.
I also suspect that she has an escalating drink problem..
Is there anything we can do? I suspect not, and she needs to come to her own senses about him. They have young DCs and the youngest is showing aggression to his sister.
Are there any helplines she can speak to? Anything I can say to make her come to her senses? I live within earshot - should I call the police if I hear anything going on?
Would appreciate any advice.
Visit www.womensaid.org.uk to locate your nearest offices and urge your friend to call them during usual office hours or make contact with the 24/7 freephone Helpline.
If you should hear anything untoward coming from her home, of course you should call the police and you can ask that your identity as the caller ibe protected if you so wish.
Alternatively, you can voice your concerns anonymously to the NSPCC who will forward a report to the relavant local authority's Childrens Department which should result in a sw paying a call on your friend.
Follow your gut.
If you intervene, and she is not ready for what you have to say, she may well turn against you.
My usual recommendation is to be there, and to make your friend talk to you: don't tell her what to do, ask her how she is feeling, what she wants, what her plans are to change the situation... basically engineer conversations so that she hears solutions coming out of her own mouth, and not anyone else's.
Validate any feelings of upset she expresses to you: that's very important too. She will be so used to minimising his behaviour, it will help her to hear your shock, horror and commiseration.
Thanks izzyizin. I'll get the helpline number for WA passed onto her (though I'm not sure what she's going to do without a phone).
I will call the police if I hear anything and its reassuring to know they'll protect my identity. I've heard nothing to suggest that the kids themselves are being harmed, so I don't want to inflict ss on her at the moment.
I'm guessing I ought to spend some more time with her and see if I can get her to confide in me a bit. I feel a bit helpless knowing but not supposed to know about it if you know what I mean.
Thanks also hotdamn. I am a bit concerned about what to say if she speaks to me about it and that is helpful advice.
She's young, beautiful, clever, but I'm just seeing the life being sucked out her in front of my eyes... It's heartbreaking.
Feel a bit out of my depth.
The children may not be covered in bruises but they're already exhibiting behavioural problems from what you describe. Broken limbs heal but psychological damage can last a lifetime. Please don't think SS is 'inflicted' but call the NSPCC before more damage is done.
"I am a bit concerned about what to say if she speaks to me about it and that is helpful advice."
Tell her the truth. That you're very concerned about her, frightened for her, frightened for the kids etc. No point sugaring the pill when someone's life is at stake.
Keep being there for her & reflectback at her that this is NOT normal or acceptable behaviour. Victims of DV are often so emotionally & mentally worn down they question their own name at times.
Their perception of "normal" becomes skewed but yes she needs to get him out, for her kids sake if not her own.
SO difficult for you & the mutual friend but all you can do is be there as sounding boards for her, offer info as she wants to accept it and encourage her to see this man for what he is.
The children are always in danger in situations of DV.
It is a myth that they can be unharmed whilst their mother (or father) is abused
They can be hurt accidentally whilst violence is being acted out on their mother, or because they try to protect her. They are hurt psychologically and emotionally by seeing their father hurt and demean their mother. They are hurt by seeing her powerlessness to help herself and therefore to protect them. They are hurt by the role models being played out before them.
Children who have been exposed to family violence suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as bed-wetting or nightmares, increased risk of exhibiting aggressive, anxious, depressed or hyperactive behaviour. Girls who are exposed to their parents domestic violence as adolescents are significantly more likely to become victims of dating violence. Children are at a greater risk of having serious adult health problems including tobacco use, substance abuse, obesity, cancer, heart disease, depression and a higher risk for unintended pregnancy.
And men who perpetrate violence against the mothers of their children have poor boundary recognition and high levels of entitlement and Psychopathic traits (Hare et al) and are therefore more likely to directly harm their children by neglect or direct violence.
And well done for not burying your head in the sand. It's always easier to do nothing. Just by thinking about what you can do you may have made a huge difference to their future and healing.
Let her know that what he is doing is abusive and illegal and that he can be arrested for it.
Get her to ring women's aid, and be there for her. Tell her about refuges and let her know that she has to protect her kids before he hurts them too.
And be patient, it may take her time but help her to get the support she needs now.
Be prepared for her partner to be unpleasant to you, if not outright threatening. Where I used to live, my lively neighbour's partner was violent towards her. He HATED that we got friendly when they moved in (we both loved gardening) and did all he could to ensure that we didn't get much time to spend alone so she couldn't confide in me.
She did, but only cos I have a big mouth and brought it up. She had 4 boys under 10 who were all seeing how daddy treated mummy but she was too afraid to leave him because she said he'd find her.
Personally, when I found out that during her last pregnancy he'd pinned her face down on the bed, at 5 months pregnant, and sat astride her hitting her, I wanted to kill him! However, there was nothing I could do. I offered her access to my computer and my phone so she could get help, but she was just too afraid of him.
I was too, but because I wasn't in a relationship with him, I think he realised that if he pushed me, I would report him to the police.
In the end, when I moved house several hundred miles away, she was still with him. He refused to allow me to speak to her whenever I called and in the end, I had no choice but to admit defeat. I still think of her often and hope she's ok.
LOVELY neighbour...not lively, oops!
Sorry for the long post.
Thanks all. And thanks doctorwhofan - a sobering tale. She keeps suggesting that both our families get together so we can get to know him. I'm not too keen.
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