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I think I have been horribly unreasonable...and stupid.

(35 Posts)
Roary1 Fri 24-May-13 20:51:20

Just been in local Tesco and a woman with a 5 year old staggers in and acts very oddly. She was slurring her words and being over-friendly with customers and Tesco staff. Her son had bright pink hair. She walked past me and I was convinced I smelt the smell of fags, booze and BO wafting off her.
I phoned the police as I thought she was drunk in charge of a child.
I told the Tesco staff of my concerns and one worker said she was not drunk, just had mental health issues.
Feel horrible and guilty now. Poor woman.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 24-May-13 20:53:09

If she's not drunk in charge of a child then the police will work that out pretty fast. If she IS then Tesco staff should be more did the right thing imo.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 24-May-13 20:54:34

Yes, you were. Don't do it again. Be sure of your facts next time. As you rang the police why did you feel the need to speak to the staff also? It sounds very gossipy. sad

BriansBrain Fri 24-May-13 20:55:22

Well I think you did the right thing for the child. You didn't know and was just erring on the side of caution and your call may be a trigger of there has need reason calls for concern so she may get some well needed support.

MrsWolowitz Fri 24-May-13 20:55:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Roary1 Fri 24-May-13 20:55:40

The police asked me to return to the store and to ask the staff if she was a regular at the shop so no it was not gossipy at all.

Roary1 Fri 24-May-13 20:55:40

The police asked me to return to the store and to ask the staff if she was a regular at the shop so no it was not gossipy at all.

cantbloodywellchoose Fri 24-May-13 20:56:56

I don't think you can be criticised for erring on the side of caution. Don't fret.

ENormaSnob Fri 24-May-13 20:57:18

I think you did the right thing tbh.

hermioneweasley Fri 24-May-13 20:57:58

Don't feel guilty - more people should intervene when they think kids are at risk.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 24-May-13 20:58:27

Why didn't the police ascertain that for themselves rather than ask a random shopper, OP?

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 24-May-13 20:59:03

You were concerned for the safety of the child not just massively judging this woman. To be honest it doesn't sound like she's in a great place from your description and might actually need a bit of help.

Cherriesarelovely Fri 24-May-13 21:00:01

How were you meant to know? You were acting in the interests of protecting a young child. It wasn't stupid imo.

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 24-May-13 21:00:52

You absolutely did the right thing. BTW, mental health issues and drinking are not mutually exclusive, and recognised mental health issues even with help, may also mean being a poor parent.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 24-May-13 21:01:22

That's true, Alisvolatpropiis, this woman will get some help, hopefully and be on the 'radar' to ensure that it's ongoing if needed.

sallysparrow157 Fri 24-May-13 21:01:47

Don't feel guilty, you did the right thing. It may be that she has a mental illness but has lots of support and her husband or mum or whoever was outside in the car waiting to take her home. In which case, no harm will come of you being concerned. However, it may be that she has a mental illness, is going through an episode of being very unwell or not taking her medication and she has no support to help her with the child. In which case you letting services know will allow her and the child to get the help they need. It may also be that she is drunk or taking drugs in the sole charge of a child (with or without a background of mental illness, people with mental illnesses are capable of getting drunk, making bad decisions and being irresponsible as much as the next person!)

You would feel far worse if you'd done nothing and then found out something had happened to either the mum or the child than if it turns out there are no concerns about this family and there was no need for you to have done anything.

sallysparrow157 Fri 24-May-13 21:06:37

Lyingwitchinthewardrobe - if people waited til they were certain they had every fact right before raising a concern then yes, a lot of child protection investigations that turn out to be nothing wouldn't happen. But there would be a handful of children who would come to less harm.

The little girl who was starved to death in Birmingham a few years ago, the neighbours said afterwards that she used to steal bread they left out on the bird table but they weren't certain there was a problem so they didn't say anything to anyone.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Fri 24-May-13 21:15:11

Having mental heath issues doesn't change anything. If she stank of fags & booze & BO it sounds like she possibly isn't taking care of herself and could need intervention and help to care for her DC for now.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Fri 24-May-13 21:19:06

sallysparrow... I agree with you. I don't understand why OP needed to mention it to Tesco staff after she'd rung the police. It wasn't a question that the relevant authorities weren't aware, was it?

sallysparrow157 Fri 24-May-13 21:22:01

I guess if she wasn't known to the police/social services then knowing she was a regular in the store would help them track her down, on the other hand I agree that it shouldn't have been the op doing that investigating!

CloudsAndTrees Fri 24-May-13 21:26:53

You have nothing to feel guilty about. It's better that you showed some concern for a child instead of ignoring what could have been a drunk person with a child.

nightingalefloor Fri 24-May-13 21:34:15

You did the right thing, absolutely. I can't tell you how much I wish someone had intervened with DD's mum earlier, there were obvious signs but they were all ignored sad The way I see it, if 9 out of 10 cases reported turn out to be false alarms but 1 out of 10 is a real problem that needs to be dealt with, then those 9 false alarms were worth it.

Wannabestepfordwife Fri 24-May-13 21:49:20

You did the right thing! As other posters have said she could have stopped taking her medication or be having a severe episode and you alerting ss may get her the help she needs

RiotsNotDiets Fri 24-May-13 21:54:30

If she smelt of booze and was staggering about, slurring her words and being over friendly she probably was drunk. I think you did the right thing.

WandaDoff Fri 24-May-13 21:59:06

Rather safe than sorry has always been my motto in issues like this.

I was the neglected, hungry child at one point & I wish more people had worried about it, than just shook their heads & carried on.

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