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to feel worried about this little girl?

(94 Posts)
OTheHugeManatee Fri 24-Jun-11 11:00:47

More of a WWYD really, but I'm genuinely concerned.

One of my neighbours has a young daughter (I'd guess about 7 or 8). There's no mum in evidence, and sometimes she's not out playing in the garden for a few days, so I assume her parents are separated and she lives between this house with dad and elsewhere with mum.

She's a nice kid, and we often chat as I'm out gardening most evenings. I've given her sunflower seeds to plant as she seemed interested in growing things, and feel faintly protective towards her. She never seems to have friends round, and I wonder if she's a bit lonely.

I often hear her dad shouting at her. Like really loud, unpleasant, frightening shouting. Not just 'Stop that!' occasionally, as you'd expect when a child is a PITA, but really scary. It's 'fucking' this and 'fucking' that, and 'COME HERE YOU LITTLE BITCH!' seemingly the whole time. This morning he was yelling at her intermittently from about 7am until I left for work between 8 and 9. I could hear him swearing and bellowing, and her crying. It really broke my heart, as I couldn't imagine what such a young child could have done to merit that much aggression from her father. She's clearly frightened of him, as when he yells at her to come indoors she goes at the speed of light.

Up until now I've just felt sad for her having such an angry father. But this morning, for the first time, I considered calling social services.
If I heard a man yelling at his wife like that I'd call it abuse, wonder about domestic violence and consider calling the police.

I'm aware that it's impossible to judge a parent/child situation from the outside; she could have all kinds of behavioural issues that are invisible to me; etc etc. But surely it's never excusable for a grown man to bellow 'FUCKING BITCH!' at his 8-year-old daughter?

Should I wind my neck in or should I do something? And if so what?

BabeRuthless Fri 24-Jun-11 11:05:25

If you're unsure you could ring NSPCC for advice, but trust your gut here. Like you said it's NEVER acceptable to call a child a "fucking bitch" no matter what she's done. And to be continually shouting at her for such a long period of time is pretty worrying to say the least.

Have you ever spoken to the Dad? What's your impressions of him?

mellowcat Fri 24-Jun-11 11:05:39

Yes

Call Children's Services or the NSPCC. It is emotional abuse.

jesterjangles Fri 24-Jun-11 11:05:41

Do you ever see the mum?? I think I would be inclined to ring social services. How would you feel if something happened? If this has been going on for a while, its not as if it is just a one off. I assume that if everything is ok then nothing will happen.

She will probably then go to live full-time at her mum's.

JudysJudgement Fri 24-Jun-11 11:09:15

surely it's never excusable for a grown man to bellow 'FUCKING BITCH!' at his 8-year-old daughter?

its never acceptable to call anyone that

i would call social services. I used to have a neighbour who called her kids allsorts like this - they were terrified, poor sods. She put it down to PMT, i just thought no you are a nasty cow.

worraliberty Fri 24-Jun-11 11:09:58

Yes ring them.

If they look into it and find nothing that concerns them, at least you would have done your bit.

stealthsquiggle Fri 24-Jun-11 11:14:29

Call them - they may be aware and involved, or they may not. Either way there is no harm in them looking into it (although I would be inclined to emphasise that you don't want the father to know who called, as I can imagine the little girl not being allowed to talk to you any more if he knew..).

TheMagnificentBathykolpian Fri 24-Jun-11 11:15:15

I agree.

If the shouting and bellowing you describe was from, say, a support worker to his client with learning difficulties, would you act?

Care worker to elderly person?

Adult offspring to elderly parent?

It shouldn't be any different because it is parent to child. Bottom line - Person in position of trust and responsibility treating vulnerable person in unacceptable way.

M0naLisa Fri 24-Jun-11 11:18:18

hmm as he sounds vicious i would go to the NSPCC or your local Child Services x

FreudianSlipper Fri 24-Jun-11 11:18:37

no you should not wind you neck in

totally unacceptable way to treat anyone, let alone a child. he may be struggling and need support, he may just be cruel and abusive either way it needs to be dealt with

OTheHugeManatee Fri 24-Jun-11 11:19:12

NSPCC is a good idea. I was wavering at the idea of going straight to social services, but I will definitely ring NSPCC for advice.

I've met the father briefly once or twice. He strikes me as not particularly bright and on a rather short fuse. He's often around during the day, and sometimes when I'm walking home I hear very loud music from his living room. Sometimes I also hear him singing very loudly and tunelessly, in a way that suggests he's drunk. The 'drunk' thing is pure speculation though, and the 'short fuse' thing is probably more to do with how often I hear him shouting than anything else.

Oddly when I gave his daughter some seeds to plant in her garden he came by to ask for advice with planting them. I was worried that he was going to say 'why are you talking to my daughter?' but he seemed genuinely to want to help his kid grow things. So my impression is that he probably cares for her but has serious anger issues.

Thanks for the replies. I'll ring NSPCC and ask for advice.

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Fri 24-Jun-11 11:19:29

Please call you would never forgive yourself.

hmc Fri 24-Jun-11 11:21:56

Good luck OP - as others have said, seeking NSPCC advice is the first line of enquiry

Pendeen Fri 24-Jun-11 11:22:15

If I heard that, I would ring the social services immediately.

No one should treat a child like that, the man obviously is unwilling to control a vicious temper.

Callisto Fri 24-Jun-11 11:22:20

How heartbreaking. Do call, for her sake.

ShowMeTheMonet Fri 24-Jun-11 11:24:15

sad

worraliberty Fri 24-Jun-11 11:25:40

All the NSPCC will do is tell you to ring SS.

They're not likely to say 'oh don't worry about it, just put it out of your mind' are they?

It needs looking into properly.

Tchootnika Fri 24-Jun-11 11:27:50

How about finding out a bit more about the father?
If he's asked for your advice already, seems to like and trust you, and also seems like someone under an enormous amount of stress, who isn't coping very well, then how about approaching him sympathetically before potentially villainising him? It sounds as if he needs help.

OTheHugeManatee Fri 24-Jun-11 11:29:12

Tchootnika To be completely honest, I wish I had the courage to do that. But I'm slightly scared of him as well sad

whysolate Fri 24-Jun-11 11:29:53

Oh my god, that is really upsetting. sad

I would not ignore something like that. I hope she's ok.

worraliberty Fri 24-Jun-11 11:30:33

If he needs help, SS will give it to him. It's what they're trained and paid to do.

AmberLeaf Fri 24-Jun-11 11:30:38

I agree with Tchootnika

JudysJudgement Fri 24-Jun-11 11:32:24

i think if it were a woman, people would be saying oh you know nothing about it, shes probably under stress/strain/depressed/end of her tether coping as a single parent

well, he may well be as well. That doesnt excuse him abusing the little girl though. Maybe try and get to know him a bit OP - just chat while you are gardening, offer to do get him a couple of bits when you are going shopping etc. Mind you, that may open a whole new can of worms of never being able to get rid of him lol

Bluebell99 Fri 24-Jun-11 11:32:46

As an ex social worker, I would ring social services directly and wouldn't bother with the NSPCC. They will only refer it social services anyway. I met some truely unpleasant people when working in child protection. Always remember a beautiful little girl who was five and lovely and her mother couldn't stand her because she said she looked like her dh's ex. WTF. She was her own biological daughter.

Tchootnika Fri 24-Jun-11 11:32:56

I think it's completely understandable to be scared of him, but from what you've said about actual contact with him, he seems vulnerable and as if he likes/respects you. It also seems that you could establish more contact/rapport with him without being intrusive. It sounds as if he'd actually welcome it. I really think that in the first instance this could be more constructive than steaming in with social services, etc.

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