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To ask everyone not to ignore abusive parenting, including cursing a child in public.

(164 Posts)
missmarplestmarymead Fri 02-Aug-13 18:44:39

I know some think it is unreasonable to intervene but in the light of the details we have heard today about the tragic Daniel Pelka, can we please all stick our noses in especially where they are not wanted.

Don't let abusive parents abuse their children on the street and either be too frightened to say anything or dream up possible excuses for their behaviour. hey will think they are getting away with it, especially if they can pull the wool over the eyes of social workers and teachers.

It really is our solemn duty not to look the other way.

candycoatedwaterdrops Fri 02-Aug-13 20:50:20

Neighbours knocking on doors or confronting an abusive parent is not the answer and you are naïve to think this is so. If you are genuinely interested and not stirring, skim through a couple of serious case reviews. Peer pressure will not stop abuse. Professionals communication with one another and policies being reviewed are just 2 of ways to move us forward. The law is clear - the interpretation of it is not.

Tee2072 Fri 02-Aug-13 21:01:17

Confronting is the worst thing you can do unless you are in a position to hold the parent and call 999 immediately and have actual cause to do so.

You intervene. The parent stops. Then gets the child home and beats them severely for 'making them get in trouble.'

ageofgrandillusion Fri 02-Aug-13 21:08:05

Tee2072. Where is the proper evidence of that? And don't just give me the odd anecdote. Where is the prooer evidence that people intervening generally is less beneficial than people simply walking on by? There isnt any and you know it.

TimothyClaypoleLover Fri 02-Aug-13 21:10:12

I have seen a mother shouting and swearing at her two little girls on the school run. Broke my heart that she could speak to them like that and I felt awful that I didn't say anything. But I honestly don't think confronting the parents is the answer. If they are abusive parents the poor child/ren are likely to get it worse at home as a consequence of being confronted.

ThePowerof3 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:08:29

I have got quite a temper and know what it is like to feel at the end of your tether but would never swear at my children, it's over stepping the mark and who knows what you'll do next. It isn't just 'having a bad day' when you call your own child a cunt surely??

Bowlersarm Fri 02-Aug-13 22:11:32

What Tee said makes absolute sense. 'Just wait til I get you home' has been used over the centuries. Much more sinister these days.

holidaybug Fri 02-Aug-13 22:12:20

YANBU. I don't understand why after the event, neighbours/schools etc will say they had concerns, heard screams etc. I wouldn't hesitate to call the police, social services etc and do what I could to ensure it was followed up.

Sirzy Fri 02-Aug-13 22:13:29

Age - you seem to have ignored my earlier question so I will ask again. What do you think telling a paren off is going to achieve? Do you really think an abusive parent is going suddenly stop after some stranger telling them off in the street?

Bowlersarm Fri 02-Aug-13 22:18:07

Agree Sirzy. The people shouting in the street are often not the ones carrying out the diabolical abuse. They hide it better.

betterthanever Fri 02-Aug-13 22:22:43

No matter what we do the courts let it carry on anyway - I don't know how to put on a link to another thread on but there is on in legal now - the parent has committed sexual abuse and allowed to have contact. I sadly know a personal case of two poor girls who may be facing a residence order with a sexually abusive parent, never mind verbally abusive parent - the child's rights are being used as a way to get parental rights.
Two wonderful chidlren's services staff were talking to me in our office block a few weeks ago - they said just that about parental rights, they are pulling thier hair out with it all. They feel powerless to stop what they know is happening to some children. Whilst we don't want children running wild without discipline - good discipline is too difficult for some and they use abuse as the easy way. lawyers make the money on defending the parents and the courts are run by ex lawyers - what hope do we have?

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 02-Aug-13 22:23:00


Even people correctly trained in cp have to asses the risks of informing the parents of a referral or concern on a case by case basis its often considered to be do dangerous to do so until such time as the child can be removed.

People without the knowledge to do so should not intervene other than by passing the ball on to people who are correctly trained.

MrsKeithRichards Fri 02-Aug-13 22:25:28

The tragic thing is, these poor excuse for human beings, Daniel's parents, were most likely never seen publicly losing it with the poor boy. Awful case. I hope that boy is at peace.

mumofthemonsters808 Fri 02-Aug-13 22:32:43

Sorry for sounding so negative but all this will achieve is to increase the abusers anger. A stranger's intervention is not going to miraculously stop the abusers behaviour or even change their way of talking to their child.I also agree with Bowler who points out that the vile person screaming in the street is usually not someone who beats their child black and blue.

SanityClause Fri 02-Aug-13 22:33:22

DH was talking about this, and said that his teachers must've known there was a problem, and why didn't they do anything about it?

Well, I think you'll find they did report it, but that, for whatever reason, SS didn't act in a way to protect the child. (Whether that was lack of funds, lack of good leadership, or something else, no doubt we will find out. Ironic if it's lack of funds - plenty of money to find out what went wrong, but not enough to make sure it didn't go wrong in the first place.)

Apparently 50-60 children die at the hands of their parents/carers every year, through abuse and neglect. That's one a week. I wonder why this particular photogenic child is getting so much media attention? I mean, it's obviously a terrible tragedy, but so it is for the other 59 children who have/will die this year.

betterthanever Fri 02-Aug-13 22:33:33

Sorry that other thread is in lone parents not legal.

PeriodMath Fri 02-Aug-13 22:43:36

I agree with all those who've said confronting a stranger will achieve nothing and probably only make things worse for the child.

It only works if you KNOW the person, where they live, where the child goes to school etc. Then you "could" make a difference by contacting the school and social services and allowing it to be looked into properly.

ageofgrandillusion Fri 02-Aug-13 22:48:24

Bowlersarm - where is the evidence for your assertion?
Sirzy - it lets them know what they are doing is wrong and goes against social norms.
Sockreturningpixie - what do you mean by 'correctly trained'? Genuine question - what, exactly, does this training involve?

Sirzy Fri 02-Aug-13 22:53:34

Do you really think they believe it is normal behaviour?

ageofgrandillusion Fri 02-Aug-13 23:01:17

It is probably normal to them, or rather, to some parents. Drink driving was normal to many people at one time. It is now very much taboo.

Sirzy Fri 02-Aug-13 23:02:57

Yet people still drink drive knowing they won't. It is very naive to believe that a stranger saying "don't do that" will make them stop abusing their child.

Bowlersarm Fri 02-Aug-13 23:03:20

Don't be ridiculous, Age. I had no 'assertion'.

Just common sense.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 02-Aug-13 23:48:29


Do you seriously need to ask what I mean by child protection training?

Have a little think perhaps you will work out I'm meaning the various levels offered on a professional basis to people working in child protection.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 02-Aug-13 23:52:57

I have worked for SS, I work with marginalized people. Don't challenge in the street. The people who swear near or at their children may well not be the people abusing them and vice versa. I know a really challenged Mum who repeatedly swears at both hers. She is a great Mum. I have been at meetings about her and the consensus is that this is her verrnacular.

Do, however, always report if you suspect abuse, always speak up about abuse, always believe if a child discloses and LEAVE THE HEAVY STUFF TO THE PROFESSIONALS. Sorry to shout.

betterthanever Sat 03-Aug-13 00:31:01

Are you being serious that the mum you talk about mrs is a `great mum' and she swears at her children confused.
It maybe best you no longer work for social services. Challenged Mum or not - allowing her to swear at children is not the answer - they are children they don't know she is `challenged'.
I think this is exactly what people feel is wrong with our system. I can see it isn't always the right thing to do, to challenge a stranger but I do at the same time understand the taboo argument.

MrsTerryPratchett Sat 03-Aug-13 00:43:19

Yes I am. It is also probably better that unqualified, nosy, judgmental people don't work for SS. By good mother I mean that her DC are well fed, cared for, clean, always attended school and programs they were enrolled in. Her house is spotless and, most importantly, she loves them and they know it. She was also open and honest with the professionals involved in her life. The same cannot be said for the partners who she got rid of when they were obviously not the people who should be in her DC's lives. I didn't allow her to swear at her children, I'm not her jailer. She is an adult and all SS and agencies should be worried about is whether children are abused or neglected.

BTW I also found it shocking, because we see swearing as an indicator of 'badness'. "Fuck off, Mummy's busy right now" is not actually any different to "go way, Mummy's busy right now" if they are both said in the same tone and with the same intent. I never saw her raise her voice to her DC, never hit, never endangered them. I did wonder if they would be judged and bullied at school when they came out with those words.

Name-calling IMO is very bad but we allow, "you are naughty" and not, "you are a little fucker". Words are just words. The intent and what people mean by them IS important. Also, the surrounding care is important as well. If a child is constantly told, "you are naughty, naughty DD" that, IMO is worse than swearing as long as the swearing is not damaging the child.

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