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need advice from someone who's been in an EA and DV relationship

(85 Posts)
anotherworriedfriend Sat 15-Jun-13 11:30:56

Have namechanged.

So, friend confides that her DH has a history of DV, probably related to undiagnosed MH problem.

Over a year at the P1 school gate, more details have been confided - lots of nasty, ugly, violent behaviour and then lots of peaceful, ordinary behaviour with gifts and gestures to "make up for it".

She feels powerless, "the kids love him", "it's not that bad" "I know how to handle him" - you know, the stuff that women trapped in an abusive relationship say. Sigh.

I've said to come to me if ever she feels her, or her kids safety is at risk - but, it's her marriage, she's a grown-up, she knows fine well what's going on and I've felt there's nothing to be gained from telling her to LTB; she already knows that - and, there's a distinct undercurrent of "it's more complicated than that".

However, she's just told me that DH has pinned 7 year old up against a wall. Screaming in the face, threatening violence and that the child's daddy is going to "fucking kill you"

Also, she's told me he's got convictions for assault - I don't know whether that's against her, the kids, or someone else.

This woman is bright, clever, funny, and you'd just love her.

She KNOWS he's bad for her, bad for the kids and that she needs to leave.

But, I'm not sure that me offering safe refuge is enough now that I know her kids are at risk from a violent, unpredictable dick man, who might be ill, but who refuses to see his GP.

If you've been on the receiving end of this kind of crap, I'm sorry. But, if you have any nuggets of what could have been helpful from a friend that might have enabled to extricate yourself - well, I'd be really grateful.

I don't want to mess this conversation with her up.

SirSugar Sat 15-Jun-13 11:43:20

call social services and report

Hissy Sat 15-Jun-13 11:44:49

Report. You have to.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sat 15-Jun-13 11:45:01

I would say the same, don't try to talking to her call SS and report, she cannot stay with him, let SS make the decision for her, him or her DC.

anotherworriedfriend Sat 15-Jun-13 11:54:06

It does sound criminal to me - well, it IS criminal. And, I am concerned that if I do nothing then I am also responsible for the situation the kids are in.

HOW do you report?

Tell social services what she has told me?

Then what happens? She gets a knock at the door from social workers/police?

Is it best to tell her I need to report it? Or, do it anonymously - if I report her situation the repercussions for her and her life are enormous. I know this can't go on - but, I want to keep her friendship. She's going to need a pal.

So sad.

Dahlen Sat 15-Jun-13 12:12:04

I'd report and tell her that you're doing so. Do it as sympathetically as possible and tell her you're happy to support her through it (if you are) and even be there to approach SS proactively with her rather than reporting her, but be firm about it. Point out that if her DH does hurt one of the DC, then you will be as responsible as him if you do nothing - as will she be.

Tell her that men who make threats to kill often carry them out - particularly if there are MH problems exacerbating the abuse.

Tell her that SS will consider her unable to protect her DC if she remains with her DH after he has threatened the DC, and she may lose her DC. Whereas if she approaches them and asks for support, they will help her.

Some abused women are only able to leave when the choice is between DH and DC - until they are given that stark practical choice they simply cannot see that 'keeping the family together' means choosing the DH over the DC. That's part of the erosion of clear-thinking that abuse has on people. There are many abused women out there who were angry at the time of SS intervention but later - once the fog has cleared - realise it's the best thing to happen to them and are eternally grateful it happened.

She may never speak to you again. She may be angry but accept your viewpoint and lean on you for support. I don't know. I do know that if you do nothing and this child gets hurt, you'll have to live with that for the rest of your life.

mrsdinklage Sat 15-Jun-13 12:13:57

another - if you don't report it the consequences could be far worse. You can report annonymously, as you want to keep her friendship that would be the best route. This is no longer about her - this is about her kids.

Dahlen Sat 15-Jun-13 12:15:00

FWIW I have reported someone to SS - with the woman's reluctant consent. It was one of the hardest things I've done and I felt awful telling her, but we remain friends to this day. And yes, SS intervened and it was a bit of a roller coaster of a ride, but she still has her DC.

mrsdinklage Sat 15-Jun-13 12:16:01

x posted with Dahlen - but she gave much better advice than I did so listen to her x

mrsdinklage Sat 15-Jun-13 12:18:19

Dahlen I too reported someone - SS were amazed as I said they could name me - the outcome for mine was the children were removed from a neglectful parent and went to live with another relative

anotherworriedfriend Sat 15-Jun-13 12:44:47

Good advice, guys, thanks.

Difficult advice, but, yep - the reality is the family is at risk from a violent, unpredictable huge and strong man.

I'm meeting her tonight to walk the dogs. Will tell her my quandary - she's confided in me, which means I have a responsibility.

Am Not Looking Forward To It. I really don't want to cause a crisis for her, but, there's no choice, really.

I guess it boils down to that if it was me in her situation - I'd want my kids to be safe. I want her kids to be safe. They are not, and she can't make them safe on her own.

So sad.

dunfightin Sat 15-Jun-13 12:49:10

I've been in the position of your friend to some degree. It is a long, slow road out of the situation. You get used to thinking you can handle it, but you can't and shouldn't have to handle someone else's potentially abusive behaviour or untreated MH issues especially when DC around.
If the DC say something at school or the school becomes aware, then they are likely to involve SS.
Have a look at WA or Refuge sites as they have some advice about supporting a friend.
If you've the time, take for her for a coffee and then explain clearly what you are going to do and why. Tough love does help. I'd like to think I'd have the strength to say "I'll help you if you get help to LTB but otherwise I can't listen to this and not act to ensure kids are protected so I am going to do x, y, z.

anotherworriedfriend Sat 15-Jun-13 13:17:23

Thanks, Dun.

She's on the road, has always said she'd leave him "if" - but, the "if parameters" change.

She doesn't talk about it much, but it's become the focus of our conversations over the last 3 months, which makes me think there's more going on that I know about.

Certainly, school have concerns about the kids - the wee boy is aggressive and quite unable to participate in sports without punching anyone who beats him. Proper punching. Also, lots of threatening shouting at other kids, and staff. But, I don't know what, if anything, they have done.

Regardless, I'll take your sound advice - meeting her tonight.

Hope your own situation has improved. x

jessjessjess Sat 15-Jun-13 17:51:18

She doesn't know what's going on, that's the problem. She's incapable of truly seeing it - how else could she cope with living in the middle of it?

You need to inform police and social services. You do not have a choice in the matter. It is worth losing your friendship over, should this occur, because there are children involved and they have no power and no say - so they need adults to act on their behalf.

Alternatively you could give her a time limit. She lives within that time, or you report. But I would go ahead and inform them, personally. Some things are more important than friendship.

yellowutka Sat 15-Jun-13 18:05:24

Any adult who has been informed about violence in a household where there are children has a responsibility to report that - it's a child protection issue: you do not have a choice under law. Therefore, do not worry about it - report it.

Lweji Sat 15-Jun-13 18:19:51

I think that as she has confided in you that she may well be wishing that the decision is taken out of her hands.

The problem here is that she may stop confiding in you.

For the sake of the children it's best to report, but she may well deny it, as the children, and it could become worse.

If she doesn't want you to report it, could you talk with someone at the school?
Or ring a child help line? They are likely to offer better advice.
Or you could find a way for the child to safely call the help line? For example by offering to babysit.

SimLondon Sat 15-Jun-13 21:17:15

Please report asap, the kids are in danger.

Bonsoir Sat 15-Jun-13 21:18:40

You cannot offer this woman safe refuge - she must go to the police, of her own volition.

Chubfuddler Sat 15-Jun-13 21:21:06

My husband was EA and violent to me but never to the children. I think you must report this to SS and the police. This man sounds like a fucking loon frankly and dangerous.

Bonsoir Sat 15-Jun-13 21:26:52

Please try to get your friend to report it - it is infinitely preferable if she and none other does so.

tightfortime Sat 15-Jun-13 23:39:58

I agree with Lweji, sounds as if its a cry for help, her confiding in you.

You must report it. You couldn't live with yourself otherwise. She as put you in a tough situation but you must do what's right.

She may hate you, or thank you. Immaterial. She has told you about abuse towards a child, your instinct to protect that child is paramount.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 01:02:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 07:57:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 08:28:00

I really appreciate the advice, folks.

Last night did go well, thank goodness.

Turns out that her mother has had Stern Words with her a few years (!) ago about how her children were being damaged and she had to protect them.

So, he now does not tolerate having her mother in the house and has gradually distanced the family from her relatives.

She's fearful that if he knows that I know there will be violent repercussions for her.

She's sure he needs to go, but is concerned for him - he won't look after himself properly (gambling, not eating, won't look after a flat) and has told his son that he will kill himself and it'll be their mother's fault. Wow.

She's convinced that if she leaves him or kicks him out that she'll lose the kids because SS would have to take them away as she's failed to protect them.

It's heartbreaking, she's utterly unable to see that she is beign abused too. She just seems to believe that she's a shit mum, and that if she tries to change her circumstances that she'll lose her kids. And, that they'll hate her for taking their dad away.

But, she was talking in terms of kicking him out in the next few days, rather than not. Her worry is that he'll become acutely ill and kill himself. Lots of explanations for his behaviour (crap upbringing, all this is very familiar to him) BUT, she's clear that she can't change him, and that he's damaging the kids.

So, I've left it as "I get that this is really difficult" "I understand you are frightened" "You have been abused for a long time and your thinking is factually incorrect. By leaving him you ARE protecting your kids" and "something has to change"

I haven't put a time frame on it - her DH seems to be calm at the moment (I wonder whether he's bi-polar. A college friend of mine was bi-polar and her behaviour was very similar, though, I'm no psychiatrist), she's actually planning it which is going to take a bit of time for her to get documents etc together.

Found this online too - I've ordered the book and the handbook and will give them to her, she can keep them at work. looks good, written by a police officer, anyone used it, or similar?

Thanks so much for your help and advice. I'm happy to give it a week and see what happens - but, I'm nervous about that. But, she does need to get organised, without arousing his suspicion. So, any notion of him abusing any of the kids in any way and I'll report, I've got the numbers saved in my phone.

So sad for her.

Chubfuddler Sun 16-Jun-13 08:50:36

He will kill her, or the children.

It doesn't actually matter if he's bipolar. The cause of his behaviour is irrelevant. At the moment she is prioritising him and his threats to harm himself over the children and herself. That is exactly the kind if behaviour that gets children taken into care.

TBH - she leaves him and he kills himself - happy days by the sound of it.

Chubfuddler Sun 16-Jun-13 08:51:06

And the children are being abused. Being brought up in this environment is abuse.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:06:24

Yep, she spoke at length about his behaviour and why she thinks he's unwell. And, I agree, he's Not Right In The Head...

but, I did manage to get through to her (thank goodness) that it's possible to be mentally ill AND a dickhead-scumbag-tosser.

My instinct is to gather them up and take them here and make the report to SS - but, a week seems fair enough. sort of

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:12:04

* At the moment she is prioritising him and his threats to harm himself over the children and herself. That is exactly the kind if behaviour that gets children taken into care. * That is a very good point.

And, as for delighting in his potential demise...well, it goes against every one of my instincts, and, my college friend sadly took her own life and it was/is just horrific for her family, but, yep, I'm surprised to find myself kind of agreeing with you. Am more comfortable hoping he'll go proper bonkers and get sectioned.

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 09:13:55

Sadly, it is less bad if he were to kill himself (I doubt it) than them.
And less bad if he goes downhill than the wife and children being punchbags.

Also pointing out that she may well need to leave rather than get him to leave.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 09:14:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:27:45

No, she's not contacted any of these agencies...she works indirectly with them and so doesn't want them to know about her personal circs.

I said to her "you have been abused for years, your thinking is confused because he has been abusing you. You need help to leave, these are the people who can give you help. Professional pride is irrelevant, you will be given the same support and confidentiality as anyone else. You need their help because he has been abusing you"

That's why I thought the book might help - it's got the stuff they'd talk about in it.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 09:43:08

From the viewpoint of someone who has been there, you need to report it to SS. Her boundaries of what is acceptable have slowly been eroded by constant normalisation of violent and abusive behaviour. It becomes the "new normal" and loosens up what is acceptable and what isn't in her head. That's why she keeps saying "I'll leave if..." and then when "if" happens, she resets the bar with another "well, I'll leave if..."

There's a point where you have to go from "being supportive and there for her" to "doing what is right for her and her children for their safety."

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sun 16-Jun-13 09:54:01

Ive done the Freedom Programme with Living with the Dominator I have a few books in my drawer to refer to.

I think you still need to report it, if she starts talking with him this week he could hurt the DC more.

If people don't report these things SS never find out, it took me a lot to think of ex leaving but as soon as he hit the DC I was onto a Lawyer

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sun 16-Jun-13 09:58:14

Oh and him killing himself is a line they all pull, maybe you would download the book and read it yourself, you will see a lot of what she is saying to you is text book abuse.

My brother is bipolar and his wife had an affair and left him - he didn't kill himself

I have possible bipolar (unmedicated as yet) - lived with my ex for many years through the worst EA, stalking, affairs, following me at work, calling 20 x per day, putting keyloggers on my pc so I couldn't come here - and I didn't kill myself.

My ex threatened it so many times too 'Mwawawaw I'm going to jump off a bridge' hmm i wish

Tbh I doubt if she will remove him from their life in one week as effectively as SS could/would.

ChaosCatt Sun 16-Jun-13 09:58:36

Hello Another,
I have posted occsaionally on the boards. I don't too often as it gets "boring". I talk about issues if they're getting really bad - so this poor lady's are obviously peaking too.

I have tried to tell several people, I get so far and stop. I have told several his has a "bad temper".

I am sure my friends / family want me to leave him, even though they don't know the truth.

At present, I don't because I am saving to leave. If violence happened I would go to a refuge. The kids are left out of it thank God! I wish I could leave now.

I wish I had a friend like you, please report.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 10:08:17

A point to consider. I did not ever really tell my most supportive friend everything. I held some things back (generally the worst stuff) as I was worried how awful it was and embarrassed. There's a good possibility that it's worse than what she is saying and she's only telling you what she feels "safe" to tell you.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 13:36:57

You know, the power of MN is amazing.

I felt very lost and, frankly, a bit panicked once I grasped the reality of her situation.

One wee post - and here you all are, affirming my worries and convincing me that "interfering" and making a change is the only thing to do.

He's said he'll got to a psychiatrist, it's all her fault he's gone a "bit short tempered". I've said, fair enough, get him to the GP tomorrow and go with him so he can't edit the reality of what is going on. If you don't, then I will phone them to tell them what you have told me because you and the kids are living with an unpredictable, violent man and that needs to change now.

I phoned the local psychiatric hospital, hoping they'd qualify as an "emergency" given that he's making suicidal statements. But, nope, needs to be at the point of needing an admission.

So, GP contact tomorrow by 5pm, or I'll phone SS myself.

I think I'd prefer to speak to the GP, obviously, they can't and shouldn't share details about him - but, they can listen to what I've heard and seen, and follow that up with him. And, they can report to SS.

My friend actually sounds like shit today. I think she's at The Bottom. Good. Only way is up?

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 14:42:23

Sorry, but going to the GP is not a realistic solution at this point. When my H went to the GP, it took FOUR MONTHS before he was even given any type of counselling assessment and another 4-5 months before he was given counselling. And even that was over the phone and did literally nothing. In the meantime, we were being treated horribly for almost 8+ months just waiting for counselling to start. And that's standard in our area, other areas the wait is longer.

Notify SS. They will step in and get things moving much quicker.

He's said he'll got to a psychiatrist, it's all her fault he's gone a "bit short tempered".

If he said this, there's no point in even going through a therapist/counsellor. If he doesn't recognise a problem, he won't be looking to fix it, will he? He'll use it as something to make her think it's all her fault.

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 15:52:16

Please get HER to go the GP, and get her to record this, to ask for counselling for HER to get through this.

What is essential is that she gets this on record with as many agencies as possible. YES it will get scaled to SS, but she needs the help.

IF she sits on this and then denies or limits contact, where will the (often male and anti DV judge) get the HARD evidence needed to support her claim for additional care, denial of unsupervised visits and the really bloody necessary additional support she WILL need to help herself and her DC recover from this.

HE can sort himself out. SHE needs to GET HER KIDS TO SAFETY.

She WILL lose the kids if she DOESN'T ACT to get them to safety.

It's not her fault, none of this, but if she doesn't do something she WILL be allowing him to harm them all, potentially worse. 2 women a week are killed and men that are violent can and DO kill the kids to get to the mother.


When she does the Freedom PRogramme, she will see that the woe is me, martyr act is precisely that. an act, designed to pressure, manipulate and damage the family.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 19:57:13

The reality of what needs to happen has hit me, and, frankly, I'm a bit scared. And, resentful.

Why is she not protecting her kids? She has a choice to DO something, why has she not taken it?

Why has she been so weak and so short-sighted to keep the status quo and ALLOW this? Selfishly, I keep thinking that I shouldn't be the one having to call SS and make her kids safe.

I understand that she's being abused and she's not thinking clearly, and, I am happy to help and support and get them all safe - but, ugh. This is going to be horrible.

It's going to cost me our friendship (that's ok, the kids need to be safe) It's going to have repercussions at the school gate. I'm potentially going to land up in court as a witness? He's a big scary man - what if he finds out it's me who's dobbed him in?


See this being a grown-up? It's rubbish.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 20:46:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 21:06:18

Getting, yep, that's actually, exactly what she's said.

She's fearful that she'll lose the kids - so, by saying nothing and maintaining the situation she feels that she is protecting them. And, that for them to be separated from their dad will be deeply upsetting for them, so, she wants to spare them that.

And, yes, she knows me well enough to realise she can't tell me all that she has and I'll just say "oh dear, he's a twat, have some cake"

I do have every sympathy for my friend - I'm not angry with her, I'm more shocked that she's in such a bad situation - and, I feel guilty for not having realised just how grim it is. I know she'll have gone to great lengths to hide the reality from everyone, including herself, but, goodness, if I'd been a better friend I could have made this call a year ago.

Thank you for your post, Getting. It does make me feel better. Now, where are my Big Girl Pants...? Time to get them on.

dandydorset Sun 16-Jun-13 21:37:03

havent read all

i was in a very similar position as your friend,stayed with ex for 5 yrs and felt s your friend did

i would report but not tell her,i had all the fears she did,it's a terrible situation for all concerned and is very complex these relationships

i had alot of help from womens aid and now am starting councelling and have a support worker,funds are so stretched at the moment but there is help there

good for you helping support is vital,it's a long and difficult road,difficult to understand to those that havent been in a dv relationship

good luck

scoobydooagain Sun 16-Jun-13 21:44:26

Please report to social services, them getting involved was best thing to happen to my child and me, didn't seem so at time but several years later we are happy, free and safe.

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 21:51:26

She can't see past the situation she's in. She's frightened that life will fall apart if she breaks free.

The opposite is true. In a matter of days without him, SHE will feel slightly less tense. Her DC will feel less tense, they will begin to thrive. In a matter of DAYS.

If she says nothing, the poison they are being exposed to is actively harming them, their self image/esteem and cutting their future from them.

The only way is OUT.

OddSockMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 10:36:06

Oh I really do hope you call SS!

I called them with concerns about my brother when his gf was beating him (plus concerns over my nephew). I knew it might ruin our relationship, but it was the best phone call I ever made. And the stuation wasn't anywhere as bad as it is with your friend. For him to be threatening to kill the kids - really, really not good.

Yes it would be better if she called them herself but they will totally understand the situation she's in, especially if you tell them everything that's been going on (abuse towards her, suicide threats). They will understand her situation, but if she works with them in protecting the kids then they won't remove them but will help her get things sorted.

It may well be the chance she needs to talk to people that will help her leave, but if you leave her to make that call, there may always be reasons for her to put it off - trying to fix an unfixable sitauation.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 12:06:43

Glad things improved for your brother, Sock.

I called SS for advice this morning. I gave my name and an account of what my friend told me. They are clear, like MN, that this is a Problem, that they'd investigate and would expect to have the police involved.

Not-at-all surprisingly, today, he's behaving as if nothing has happened. No GP appointment.

I've told her to make an appointment to see the GP herself, and that I'll go for hand-holding if she wants that. She's reluctant because that will lead to SS, but I have impressed upon her that because I now know, that I will need to make sure that something changes. ANd, that I want her to make the call because it would be better - but, htat I care for her and her children and so can't stand by knowing that they are all at risk and that he is reporting suicidal thoughts.

She hung up. Well, made an excuse about someone at the door, and hung up, not in temper, just hung up.

So, at least she's aware that I expect there to be change, in the short-term, and she understands that I am going to make it happen if she can't. I'll see her at pick up at school.

It's not nice, knowing you've sent someone into a blind panic. She's probably terrified that she's confided something in me and it's totally backfired.

Not nice at all.

Hissy Mon 17-Jun-13 14:17:20

Get her on here! Let US explain to her how things are, and that we've all been there, more or less.

Hissy Mon 17-Jun-13 14:18:44

That child needs someone to help him.

You are doing that, because his mother is too scared to.

No blame, but she needs back up, she needs people to help her do what needs to be done.

OddSockMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 14:21:56

Well done for calling! Doens't sound like a nice situation in any sense, but hopefully she'll see that you're saying this / calling SS out of concern, not to make her life difficult.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 14:33:23

Yep, I think she does.

She said something interesting, like "well, you know now and I suppose that will take it's own course"

I think she's told me knowing that I'm a busybody reliable person.

I'm bricking about seeing her at the gate - she's got to have made a call, or I'll do it when I get home.

I feel sick.

GettingStrong Mon 17-Jun-13 15:02:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OddSockMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 15:44:23

Sorry, think I must have understood (thought you'd called to report).

It does sound like she's hoping you'll call, and if she recognises that the situation is bad and they need to get out, then that call might be the shove she needs. It might also be that she's too scared to make that call or doesn't know how to start that conversation off.

Sending you strength to help her out - if it helps, I was bricking it before I made the call, massive relief afterwards though. Scribble down key points of that helps, and have a pen handy in case you get redirected to other numbers.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 17-Jun-13 17:26:50

So you have phoned SS and they asked your name but nothing else?

Even if he did see a GP today what good would it do? So he might get a referral to a psychiatrist that would take maybe 4-8 weeks, what would be be doing in this time? He could be on good behaviour for a while but tbh they very rarely are able to change.

My ex has moved on and is abusing someone else now, all her DC are in care - because someone spoke up.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 17-Jun-13 17:27:26

Wasn't me btw I didn't know or I would have

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 17:29:59

Why is to stop her lying to you about seeing the GP?

I'm afraid you don't have a choice. If the school knew they would invoke their child protection procedures. In fact that might be a way of dealing with it - tell them.

Hissy Mon 17-Jun-13 17:43:05

I remember giving clues to others when I needed help. No child protection issues with me, but I wanted someone else to start the momentum for me.

It will be ok. She needs you to help her. She wouldn't have breathed a word otherwise.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 20:46:22

Done it.

To explain about this morning - I wanted to know what would happen if I were to make the report.

They asked my name and address to log the call, apparently they do that with every call.

I only wanted advice at that point - because she was convinced that the SS would swoop in, he'd be in custody and the kids in care, but that's because he's been telling her that she's a bad mother and it's all her fault, she's not rational about that at all.

It seemed to me that having information about what WOULD happen would be helpful for her - and, it was only fair to give her the opportunity to call herself. I wanted to support her to do it herself instead of trampling all over her - you know, like her DH does.

However, she didn't/couldn't do it herself. I'd told her that if she hadn't by 4.30 that I would have to. I actually spoke to the same duty worker - which was great.

They take it from here and investigate and decide what to do which is either:
nothing - no case to answer
family support - all sorts of options
police involvement - DV

I don't feel great about this at all. I know it's the right thing to do - but, I'm tearful at the disruption I'll have caused in that house tonight. And, I'm hoping it all goes well and she's not left with repercussions from him - supposing the wee boy denies it?

Oh well. Big Pants On and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 20:52:02

I think the problem is that she is quite likely to deny it, and then having denied it she will feel she can't admit she lied to them when the next incident kicks off (which it will, eventually).

I would be amazed if she admits it to SS in the circumstances you describe.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:15:34

Is that how women in this situation react, Chub?

I can see how that might come about. But, I guess that SS will get in touch with the school - and there is clear evidence that the wee boy is "troubled" there. Usual stuff, he's become very aggressive, shouting and punching at the kids, really disrespectful to the teachers and just knows too much about sex and life. That'll be all the 18 computer games and DVDs his dad gives him.

And, there was the rather ugly incident with the school chicken project - his class got some eggs to hatch and one little chick came a cropper at his hands. Did he tread on it by accident, was it deliberate? Dunno, but one of the school chooks has got a limp anyway, and the kids' accounts were that he said he'd pull it's leg off.

Surely, if SS hear all that from school they'll know there's problems at home?

Wish I knew what SS will do. But, it's none of my business.

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 21:32:43

I can imagine some women would yes. I think I might have done if someone else had taken the decision out of my hands. I'm not saying you shouldn't report it, I don't think you have any choice. But the thought process she is engaged in is not linear. She will be surging back and forth, her thoughts and reactions finely tuned to the nuances of his behaviour, tone of voice and words. If they catch her in an upswing in her determination she'll probably co operate. Ironically if they catch her after a couple of days when things have been on a more even keel she's more likely to deny the lot. Her thought process being "well how can I leave him now, when things are so good?'

I think she has been really unfair to you actually.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:37:29

Funny, reading your post is my jumbled thoughts in clarified form!

I don't feel there's any guarantee. The assault was last week, he's got some sort of mood disorder which swings, she's confused, the kids love their dad.

I'm a bit fearful that if she doesn't take the chance and ask for help when they offer it that she'll be in for a beating. And, then I think I'll be next. And, then I think, well, maybe it will take for another crisis to trigger her into realising that this is not on.

Can't help but think it's not really like the films show - one call and happily ever after doesn't automatically follow.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 21:40:54

I've had years of supporting a friend in a similar situation as have a number of friends. She cites her reason for not leaving as "not wanting to leave the house".

I have had to distance myself as I found it emotionally draining, she was offloading how she felt to me then just going home and carrying on as usual. I came to the decision you cannot help someone who will not help themselves. Her children are very troubled so I don't understand - I would leave with nothing and disappear to protect mine.

Someone reported it so SS last week so who knows what will happen now - I suspect nothing much.

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 21:41:14

You'll be next? You think he would attack you?

In all honesty I think you need to involve the police in the first instance, but she needs to be on board with that. They will pass the details on to SS, they always do if there are children.

I also think that if you do pursue the plan without involving the police if he approaches you or comes to your door you phone the police without fail.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:52:34

I'm not scared of him, Chub. He's just a big old bully, he'd spit at the school gate or something like that, puff himself up and be all growly threats. I don't think he's be stupid enough to actually assault me - to be honest, he's too calculating to be more mad than bad.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 21:54:30

I would leave it with SS. In the case of my friend they interviewed her children last week - 1 denied it, 1 admitted but said "not recently" (which is bullshit) she has been asked to contact them discreetly so Dad doesn't know.

I have my fingers crossed that things will work out.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:56:20

Blue - yep. If the mother doesn't do anything to protect the kids then there must come a point where she is complicit in the abuse of the kids.

I don't want to sound victim-bashing. Clearly, it's not her fault. But, someone has to do something, and, I'm just gutted that I've been so worried about her and the kids, and she's going to let it continue.

Not that I know that - she's not answered my texts. Perhaps she's busy moving boxes into his new flat. Here's hoping.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:58:05

It must be difficult for SS, actually. If they are investigating a report, but have everyone in it saying "no, we're the Osmonds here" Must be awful.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 22:01:57

I've never been in that situation but there is only so much wise advice you can give before it starts to drag you down too. My friend was asked years ago to contact a school counsellor as one of her boys had said "I don't want to end up like my Dad" - to my knowledge she never did.

Son now at new school is self harming so i'm guessing that prompted SS too

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 17-Jun-13 22:20:19

I don't know what happened with the system where I am but police were called a few times ( by me 999) Reports were taken but I never once seen a Social worker, I was told they would be informed but they must have been out - over the years around 10-15 times, sadly those records are wiped after 5 years by the police.

The one time SS got involved they just so happened to be changing their filing system, they lost the file on my ex....

It must be hard for them OP but I agree you have been put in a horrid position.

I was told a story very similar to OP today about a young DC, she is away from the person who does it but still has contact with him and he is able to come and go from the house, my friend (whose DD is happened to) said there had been restraining order on her ex coming to her house but it had been lifted and thrown out of court as he suffers from psychotic episodes , Im unsure how much is true but she seems quite stressed, I might go see her again this week.

Its worrying, hopefully SS will dig deep they do usually go to the school and ask the DC.

GettingStrong Mon 17-Jun-13 23:00:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

buaitisi Wed 19-Jun-13 13:14:26

Do you have anyone to talk to for yourself anotherworriedfriend?
You're doing a very good thing but it must be very stressful x

anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 18:33:33

Well, that's been a bit of a damp squib.

She told them it wasn't that bad. The kids denied anything. He said they have a fiery relationship and it's understandable that someone might have a concern, but htere's not anything to worry about.

The SS lady sounded very nice. So, hopefully, that'll allay her fears tht they'd come in all guns blazing. No further action to be taken, apparently.

My freind's take on it is that it's all a storm in a teacup, that he didnt' mean it and he's promised not to do it again. I reminded her that she had more than a touch of the Nigella's about her when I met her at the weekend, that he is abusing her and the kids and that she has to protect them.

I guess it'll take a while for her to get the strength together to leave him.

What on earth can SS do, if they all deny it? He doesn't know it was me, and I don't think he's bright enough to figure it out.

I hope she's safe and he's not going to punish her for SS popping by.


anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 18:35:53

buaitisi - that's kind of you.

I have been worried, it's horrible that I know what fear and stress the kids are under, and yet, there's not really anything to be done about it right now.

I spoke to my mum, she's very sensible. And, her friend works at their local women's shelter - so, she had some very clear advice to keep my expectations low.

I guess my friend is going to need a few prompts to get out. As long as they dont' come at a high cost...<shudder>

Lweji Wed 19-Jun-13 18:44:03

Not unexpected. sad

The problem is that he's more likely to be more subtle with the abuse, or worsen the threats.
And he knows she's not capable of actually telling SS.

Have you spoken to the school? They could more discretely monitor the boy's behaviour and any other signs of abuse.

flippinada Wed 19-Jun-13 18:49:21

worried can I jut say that you sound like a lovely, kind and good person.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who turn the other cheek, minimise and so on but you haven't done that so please give yourself some credit. Even if your friend doesn't end the relationship now you have sown the seed.

Other people have mentioned you must look after and get some support for yourself, please don't forget to do that.

OddSockMonster Wed 19-Jun-13 18:59:31

Try not to constantly worry, it's very, very emotionally draining, especially in a situation where you've probably done all you can.

At least now if anything does happen, SS will know the background and will act accordinly. The might have said 'no more action' but will be able to quickly come back to your concerns, and any others from school etc. should anything happen.

You can't be there to watch them all the time, so please don't worry about it all the time. Just let your friend know you're there for her should she need you, and don't judge her for staying in what everyone else can see is a bad situation, because she won't be seeing it in full herself yet, and possibly won't for some time.

Only she can make the choice to leave for good.

anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 22:43:04

Thanks for all the kind words about me - if it helps redress the balance, I steal my kids' sweets and don't always wash the fruit before I eat it.

I don't judge her. I've realised that she's been living this for years and years, it's going to take some time for her to get her act together. And, he IS being better now.

So, I'm still texting away, chatty, not mentioning it. And, at the slightest excuse I'll bring it up again, face to face.

Am wondering about school - but, the holidays start next week. So, unless there's a proper incident (in which case I'll be onto SS) then, I guess that's not really an option until August.

It's all making me appreciate my husband more. Even his foibles. Could be worse.

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 23:13:04

Just wrote a post then read your update re SS sad.

From someone who suffered in childhood and has suffered r/s abuse as an adult - thank you for being there for your friend and even more importantly for her dc. Your steadfastness is probably the best thing they have in their lives, even though they don't realise or can't admit to themselves sad. Keep going and also look after yourself - your feelings are being battered by this too, yet it's not something one can walk away from and you are being a great person to be so steadfast.

wonderingagain Thu 20-Jun-13 01:21:45

I reminded her that she had more than a touch of the Nigella's

SS should also be aware that if children are at risk it is everyone's duty to report it and make sure they are safe, this INCLUDES the mother. The mother may be a victim but she is colluding with the abuse if she allows it to happen. This is exactly what happened with the Baby P woman - she never committed the crimes but the fact that she allowed it to happen put her behind bars for years, victim or no victim.

I think that's right but I'm not sure that many women know this. If she doesn't act to protect her children soon they could, if things got really bad, be taken into care. Now I understand what you say about them not taking it very seriously but I would imagine that there will be a picture being built up of the family because of the boy's behaviour at school. If she doesn't show SS that she is prepared to protect her children she may well end up in trouble too.

Try putting that to her - nicely of course.

anotherworriedfriend Thu 20-Jun-13 12:38:45

I know, her family have said she needs to protect the kids - and, she has said herself that she is not.

I'm kind of hopeful today that she might be coming round to the only sensible thing she can do. She's googled women's aid...

Christ, I wish she'd leave. She's lovely, but, absolutely paralysed - and, you are right, it's just not good enough.

Poor kids.

OddSockMonster Thu 20-Jun-13 20:25:10

You sound like you've got your head screwed on, she's lucky to have you smile

It's really good she's already looking up Woman's Aid, hopefully she'll get a chance to chat with them as well.

I found it useful to chat with one of the helplines myself, they're happy to talk with concerned friends and family too if you need them.

Also, one of the things that sunk in with my brother was the whole cycles of abuse thing, as it as something that after I'd said about it, he then saw happening and recognised. Opened his eyes quite alot.

anotherworriedfriend Fri 21-Jun-13 11:35:49

Thanks for that link. Have put in on my FB - she'll see it there, but he'll not know it's for her benefit.

Is EXACTLY her life, in one wee graphic. Makes me tearful.

captainmummy Fri 21-Jun-13 13:30:57

Will you keep in contact with her over the holidays, AWF?

anotherworriedfriend Fri 21-Jun-13 14:33:58

Yep, our middle sons are doing the same holiday club. And, we share a hobby, so we'll see each other. And, her DH thinks I'm a harmless idiot, so he doesn't mind her meeting up with me. Will see her this weekend - and will have a Stern Conversation, she needs a gentle shove to get her to move things along...

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