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To be frightened of where I live, do I need to toughen up?

(159 Posts)
glitterandgold Sun 18-Nov-18 02:31:11

I am a single mum to a DD 2, and a DS 2 months. We live in a private rented flat in a rough area of a northern city. I come from a working class background, and where I was raised was hardly perfect and it had it's fair share of crime but it was nowhere near as bad as where I am now (same city, but different area). There was a sense of community where I grew up, a sentiment of "we look after our own" and everyone would rally around and help someone if there had been a robbery etc. It was mostly families who had been in the area for generations and knew each other. This current estate is a lot different, the crime rate is much higher and I am feeling very much alone.

I am not here by choice. Me and my ex partner were renting a lovely flat in a decent new build estate on the outskirts of the city earlier this year until we broke up as he had been cheating. My parents are both dead, and I didn't really have any family support. So I had to give up our new build flat as it was too expensive even with my part time job and child support payments from my ex. I was in a shitty situation financially and that's how I've ended up in the flat I am in currently. It's all I can afford.

I moved in to this flat when DS was 2 weeks. He is now exactly 2 months and my landlord is actually a decent bloke. He's sorted out any issues that have arisen within the flat (damp etc) and it is done up to a decent standard.

The problem is the area. Let's just say this estate has a huge gang problem and has been at the centre of few news stories that will be well known nationwide. I've probably already given too much away. A young lad was stabbed 2 minutes away from my flat a couple of weeks ago. It terrifies me. I don't go out unless I absolutely need to and I order my shopping online. I've only been out once this week to take DS to a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. On my 5 minute walk to the clinic with DS in pram and DD holding my hand, we were harassed by a group of teenage lads. They were throwing cigarettes and rubbish at the pram and saying derogatory things about me and DD. They called me a fat slag but even worse they were calling my 2 year old DD "sexy". I started walking faster at this point and tried not to acknowledge them (keep in mind there were about 10 of them and 1 of me with 2 young children, I was helpless) but they started climbing on to their bikes. Thankfully we were right near a corner shop so I took the kids in there and waited for about 10 minutes until I saw them leave. I managed to get to the clinic unscathed but I called for a taxi to take us home despite it being a 5 minute walk. This was because it was already getting dark by the time we got out of the clinic (thanks daylight saving time) and I was NOT walking through that estate alone.

I got out of the taxi with DC and got into the building, I got the lift up to the 2nd floor with DC and as the lift doors opened there was another group of about 10 teenage lads standing outside the lift. They weren't waiting to get into the lift, just loitering about. Thankfully they moved out of the way for me to get DC past. They were watching me though as I walked down the hallway to my flat.

They were there for another 4ish hours smoking god knows what (it def wasn't weed, I suspect crack cocaine) and shouting. They were so loud I couldn't put DC down for a nap. 3 days later and I've not been out since. I know it's not healthy for DC or me to be cooped up inside constantly with not fresh air, and DD has been bored to tears but I don't know what to do. If I could drive I'd enroll her in nursery so she could socialise etc but that would be a 10 minute walk in my current situation and I'd be walking down the road that a 14 year old got stabbed to death on on a little while back. DC have gone for contact with their dad this morning (Saturday morning) and I get them back Sunday evening. I miss them like crazy whenever they are with their dad but it's also a relief for that one night a week. Because I know he lives in an okay area and he will take them out safely.

It is so bad here. Even now just taking a quick look outside my window I think I can see a prostitute loitering around outside the apartment building. And a few hours ago there was a massive fight between two groups of teens. I'm glad DC weren't here to listen to that as I think the noise would stress baby out and DD would have been terrified. There have been times I've considered giving my ex full custody, which would absolutely destroy me but at least my kids would be safe and would be able to live a normal life.

My ex tells me I need to toughen up and go out for the sake of the kids, but I don't think he understands truly how bad it is around here. I'm not sure how much longer I can cope.

ScreamingValenta Sun 18-Nov-18 02:42:15

I don't really have any advice, but what an awful situation flowers.

Would there be any chance of making a new start in a different area - or do you need to be where you are for purposes of contact with your DCs' dad? Could you move back to the area where you grew up, as you say there is a better sense of community there.

Has your ex spent any time in your flat? Would it be feasible for him to stay over so he could see how bad it really is?

Hopefully you'll get some more informed responses than mine - if not at this late hour, give your thread a bump in the morning when more people are about.

I do hope you get a peaceful night's sleep.

SmiledWithTheRisingSun Sun 18-Nov-18 02:49:32

That's really stressful op I'm so sorry you're in that situation. Can you look into moving? It doesn't sound like it's going to change anytime soon. Do you have a citizens advice bureau near you? Maybe they could help?

Shriek Sun 18-Nov-18 03:08:32

Oh love, that's awful. You are doing everything right. The only other thing is getting the police involved, but I'm thinking you might feel too intimidated to do that?
Its so stressful and you are now very isolated, and that in itself makes you vulnerable, plus you have just had to move after discovering the man you loved was cheating. Can spend a short time with anyone else, any other family or friends out of the area.

Is your flat very secure, it needs to very well bolted, with chains, spyhole, etc, possibly blocked letter box by Tue sound of it, and could you speak with the landlord about his experiences of managing in the area? His view on it?

glitterandgold Sun 18-Nov-18 03:13:25

ScreamingValenta Contact wouldn't be an issue as long as I stayed a reasonable driving distance away, so I don't think it would matter to ex if we moved to a different area within this city. I have looked into it but everywhere is so expensive. Even the area I grew up has increased in price (let's just say the council spent a lot of money on improving that estate and completely neglected this one). I've ended up here because it was all I could really afford. I'm renting this place privately, I did consider going on a council housing list to hopefully end up in a more decent area but I think I'd be low on priority as technically I have a home with enough space to accommodate me and DC and it is in liveable condition. I know it was a silly time to post, but it's so hard to sleep around here

Shriek Sun 18-Nov-18 03:25:55

You could move further out temporarily.. I'm sure your ex would want that rather than you staying in a risky situation with two so small, well any age really, it will almost be worse once they want to get out amongst that!
You need out of there, you don't know anyone now, so it won't matter...move well away to wherever is affordable.
Does ex pay full maintenance due for the dcs?

Marcipex Sun 18-Nov-18 03:33:27

Can you get together with other young parents so you aren't alone? There must be some, perhaps as unhappy as you are.
Get your ex to escort you to the nursery one day, so you can talk to other mums and ask how they manage.
I'm sorry, it does sound awful.

AjasLipstick Sun 18-Nov-18 03:36:21

I think you need to get a support network of other mums. Are there any playgroups in the immediate vicinity? Is there an estate community centre?

cannotmakemymindup Sun 18-Nov-18 04:35:05

Sorry if this has already been asked but is your ex assisting with payments for his children? So you would be able to live somewhere safer?

e1y1 Sun 18-Nov-18 04:47:36

Could you not move further out ie another city or even another county, I know you're conscious of giving much away, but can you say roughly where you are (eg the North East, or one of the Yorkshire's (West/East)

Do you have to stay in the city/county you are in? I know of some much better areas with rentals for not much money at all in this part.

It sounds a truly awful situation flowers

malificent7 Sun 18-Nov-18 05:04:47

Move away if you can...down South or rurally ...Lake District perhaps? It will be better and if you are bot on Universal Credit choose a place where it hasn't been rolled out. Your ex can travel to see his dc.

EcruTable Sun 18-Nov-18 05:30:57

It sounds terrible OP. It’s no life for you or your DC. Make moving a priority.
Your ex sounds like a selfish arse hole. Did you tell him those lads were saying your DD was sexy? And he thought that was ok?!
From what you’ve said I’m guessing your city is one in the north west?
I know your parents have passed away. Have you got any other family at all? Do you have any friends at all? If not then there is nothing other than your arsehole ex to stay for. Does he drive? If yes then you could move further away and he could still see the DC.

Mummyoflittledragon Sun 18-Nov-18 05:31:29

Have you been able to discuss this with your ex? Does he understand how vulnerable your children are? That they risk being sucked into this environment when they are older?

I would move out of area if necessary if you are able. Your life sounds awful right now. This is so unhealthy for your kids.

speakout Sun 18-Nov-18 05:42:42

OP I would move.

Do everything it takes. There are lovely places all over the UK with low crime rates.
I would not bring up my kids in an area that you describe.

Bowerbird5 Sun 18-Nov-18 05:45:19

Glitter and gold has already said she is living there because she can’t afford anywhere else. Do you have any idea what rents in the Lake District are? That would be the most expensive area to live.

OP are you on good enough terms to ask your ex to support you financially to move somewhere safer? It sounds awful and if you are too scared to go out you might end up with post natal depression. You don’t want your kids growing up in that environment either. If he doesn’t agree just start planning to get out. Look for accommodation, work in other areas it will keep your mind focussed that it will happen. Apply for council accommodation in your old area. Have you any siblings that could help for a while financially? If you could scrimp a deposit together over a period of time then it might be possible. I would contact your health visitor so you can find out about mother and baby groups. She may be able to give you some emotional support too. Find out if the charity Contact a Family work in the area. The local church may have someone who could help even to escort you out.

I ‘m sorry you have ended up in the situation. It sounds frightening.

speakout Sun 18-Nov-18 05:47:55

I am laughing at the idea of the Lake District.

I am assuming that is a Southern suggestion of a "safe place up North".

Very expensive area.

PenelopeFlintstone Sun 18-Nov-18 05:53:38

I'm so shocked by this - I'm English but live overseas now.

e1y1 Sun 18-Nov-18 05:54:29

I am assuming that is a Southern suggestion of a "safe place up North"

I was thinking that, Lake District?? It's £££££

There are good and bad areas all over the country (going off the news at the moment, you wouldn't get me near London for anything - to make a generalisation). But again there are other areas which are brilliant.

OP - there are much, much better, nicer and safer areas than what you describe and not all would be beyond your budget, you've said your ExP drives, so definitely take a look around.

PenelopeFlintstone Sun 18-Nov-18 05:59:03

.....and I'm from the sort of place the OP is originally from, so I'm not particularly precious or soft. I hope someone can help you, OP.

speakout Sun 18-Nov-18 06:03:30


Why are you shocked?

UK crime rates are relatively low compared to global statistics.
Cities everywhere tend to have higher crime rates than rural areas.

I am surprised you are "shocked".
Where do you live?

speakout Sun 18-Nov-18 06:05:32

I live "up North".

I never hear of crime in my area.

Earthmoon Sun 18-Nov-18 06:11:35

Add yourself to the council housing register, in certain areas people are on the waiting list for years. Continue on searching for a cheaper safer area, they are very hard to find. Downsize if you need to. Your children are very young they can share one bedroom flat with you until you are able to find a better property. Consider expanding your search radius a bit more. Don't give up and good luck. As said upthread don't compromise and move into an area that has universal credit.

Oneweekleft Sun 18-Nov-18 06:17:26

It sounds a very bad situation. I would try calling Women's Aid or some other charity, maybe they can help you. You have such a young baby you shouldn't be dealing with this. You definitely have to move for yours and your kids safety.

Antigonads Sun 18-Nov-18 06:53:46

Yes move South. There's no crime down there.

user1471426142 Sun 18-Nov-18 06:57:41

You poor thing. Even having to move out with a 2 week old is beyond most people’s comprehension, let alone to somewhere dangerous. With my first, I was barely functioning at 2 weeks and I have no doubt moving out in my own would have tipped me into pnd. You are still quite vulnerable.

Can you speak to the health visitor and share your worries about the area. Your ex has no right to tell you to toughen up when he put you in this situation and you’ve already had to be so strong to be on your own. Please say your ex isn’t living in the nice new build on his own while you’re in the horrid flat?

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