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AIBU To inform Children's Services - children left home alone.

(111 Posts)
SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 20:51:44

I would really appreciate some unbiased opinions on this if you don't mind reading and commenting. I feel I may be too involved in this situation to see it clearly for what it is (or isn't).

My partner has two daughters who are 5 and 6 (very nearly 7). Shared Residency with their Mother - they see her alternate weekends and midweek just for dinner. Very bad relationship between my partner and his ex, no communication, she is very angry and hostile.

The 5 yr old is articulate and on the more sensible side, but still a 5 year old. Nearly 7 year old is more immature than most I have met, very shy and quiet etc.

Eldest told my partner today (as part of a general conversation) that their Mother leaves them at home alone whilst she goes shopping. She explained it clearly and promised she is telling the truth. I spoke to the 5 year old independently and raised the subject and she told me she is allowed to stay home alone at her mummy's. Their stories and explanations both match and are both consistent and clear. It's happened many times, not just one and they say it's always when she needs to pop to the shops. If it's the nearest shop it would be a 10-15 min round trip at very least, if it's the large superstore it's at least an hour if just spending a short time in there.

My partner is really angry and upset and I am so worried, I would never do this with my own children. We absolutely would not do this and 100% feel it is a massive risk to be taking and potentially very dangerous - they are just too young and immature.

Children's Services have been involved before and are in the middle of completing a report on the children due to a previous allegation eldest made about her Mother hitting her (which was not taken further but Social Worker advised her Mother to be careful when using smacking as punishment). There is no immediate serious/active involvement now, they've decided the children are not at any great risk of harm but are going to carry out parenting assessments - I assume to tick the boxes to close the case.

AIBU informing Children's Services that the children are being left home alone?

Is it generally considered acceptable to do this? Is it just going to be seen as a petty complaint and "difference in parenting style" NONE of my friends or family do this and I can't imagine leaving them at home for at least a few more years, depending on maturity. Youngest is only 5 and still in Reception at school!

SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 20:57:58

I should add "I" wouldn't be calling them, it would be my partner as they are his children.

thewomaninwhite Thu 27-Nov-14 21:00:10

I am afraid that I would be calling them. That is not okay in my book at all. I am sorry to hear that things are so tricky with the children's mother.

greensnail Thu 27-Nov-14 21:00:46

I generally seem to be amongst the most relaxed of my friends when it comes to this sort of thing but I would not do this. My girls are 4 and 5 (reception and year 1) and I will leave them at home if popping to a neighbour's house for a few minutes and I would happily leave them outside the shop in the car while I pop in, but leaving them at home for that length of time would seem too risky to me.

Altinkum Thu 27-Nov-14 21:01:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lemisscared Thu 27-Nov-14 21:01:45

Call them. It sounds like she is in need of support. But yes it should be him that calls.

crumblebumblebee Thu 27-Nov-14 21:02:28

Is there any chance of communicating with the ex about this? It would seem the preferred option and most peaceful one for the sake of the DC.

Wozald1989 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:03:42

I would definitely say something, just to put your mind at rest.
If you don't say something and something bad happened you would feel guilty

Clueing4looks Thu 27-Nov-14 21:06:31

My (single) mum neglected us and left me home alone from the age of about 10 (last year of primary) while she went out every night. I had to look after 2 younger sisters (8 and 5) and I wish to god that someone had have contacted social services on our behalf. I'm Still not over it now and have been in therapy most of my adult life.

spamanderson Thu 27-Nov-14 21:07:10

Not sure as far as the SS stuff goes but IMO it's absolutely not acceptable to leave children of that age in the house alone. My 2 are the same age as the children you're talking about and I wouldn't dream of leaving them home alone for 5 mins, 10 mins or an hour.

Thinking about it, yes SS were concerned enough to get involved before, I think they should be made aware of this to deal with it how they see fit.

kittensinmydinner Thu 27-Nov-14 21:07:24

I am very laid back with my dcs, have always been comfortable leaving them alone, but 11 was the absolute youngest completely alone, and 10 with a 14yr old sibling and then only for an hour with immediate phone contact. Ithink you have very good cause to call and report what you have been told. When bad things or accidents happen to children how many times have we heard that neighbours/friends/relatives suspected something but said nothing for fear of seeming busy bodies. Report it.

Nicknacky Thu 27-Nov-14 21:08:27

Altinkum, where have you read that about newborns?!

There is no set definition as it depends on circumstances but doesn't mean it will always be legal to leave children.

handcream Thu 27-Nov-14 21:10:46

Sorry, why does she need 'support'. She knows it's wrong, she sounds pretty feckless, surely no one is suggesting that she needs to be told that leaving them on their own is a good idea!

AnotherStitchInTime Thu 27-Nov-14 21:10:54

Definitely let someone know, they are too young to be left alone.

Your partner could tell the school, the teachers could verify what his dd's have said separately and put in a report to Children's Services. That way the report is independent of him.

greenbananas Thu 27-Nov-14 21:12:25

It's not technically illegal, but it is wrong.. as there is already some involvement with social services you absolutely must pass this information on.

Blurple Thu 27-Nov-14 21:13:33

Please read this, there's no room for doubt as they are both young children:

www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/leaving-child-home-alone/

SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:16:18

Thank you. I think we are worried that it will look as though we are making false allegations to cause her problems. She has applied to Court for Residency of the girls, and whilst we think she has very very little chance of getting it I can see that the timing of this looks bad on us.

SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:17:40

crumblebee - No chance, there's been no communication for over a year, all done via Courts and Solicitors. Email has been used occasionally to give her info about the girls but she will never reply.

ilovechristmas1 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:17:50

why does she need to go to the supermarket when she has them,she dosent have them much and has plenty of opportunity to shop when they are not with her

report she is being neglectful

SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:21:27

Ilovechristmas - Yes, there is that too. She only has them 4 nights a month. There is no reason. She drives so even if she needed to nip out they just need to be bundled into the car, even in their pyjamas it's no hassle.

She's always left them in the car when at the local shops, which we knew but thought too minor to raise although we certainly wouldn't do it. This is so worrying though. Why she does it I can't think.

I just think of all the things that could happen that they would have absolutely no idea of how to deal with. Fire being one - they could call 999 but they would likely no do so as they'd panic, would they get out when she tells them to stay away from the front door and never open it. What if something happened to her, a car accident etc - they could be there for God knows how long! sad

SerialNamechanger1 Thu 27-Nov-14 21:22:41

They are supposed to go to hers tomorrow. I want to keep them here as I will be worried sick all weekend.

Purplepoodle Thu 27-Nov-14 21:32:55

Do the girls have a social worker at the moment? If so I would be contacting them

Aeroflotgirl Thu 27-Nov-14 21:38:09

Yes you should, it's neglect and tgey are still very young children.

crumblebumblebee Thu 27-Nov-14 21:43:30

The more you post, the worse it sounds. I know it's hard but you need to advocate for the girls and contact children's services.

youareallbonkers Thu 27-Nov-14 21:46:49

No, mind your own business.

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