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What would you do if you saw a child been physically abused by their Dad in the park?

(93 Posts)
Ladycoo1 Fri 21-Aug-20 19:14:51

Took my 2 children to the park today and there was a family with mum and dad and 3 kids. Everything was fine then all of a sudden the dad was raging and shouting at his 8 year old daughter, mum was not stopping him. He dragged her by her leg along the grass and started to take her trousers down and shouting he was going to smack her. Mum intervened Dad eventually stopped but proceeded to shout at the daughter.. They went home. I feel terrible that I watched everything discretely and did not help her out. What would be the right thing to do in this situation? God knows what happens behind closed doors.

OP’s posts: |
SentientAndCognisant Fri 21-Aug-20 19:21:28

It’s hard. An unpalatable truth is children do go home to abusive parents in terms of intervention Essentially you do what’s safe. You’re not expected to remonstrate if dad seems risky or may attack you
If there are police present you report it
Otherwise you make an in the moment decision is it safe to intervene

Ladycoo1 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:36:05

Thank you for your understanding and that sounds like sound advice.

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BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:39:09

There is no way I could stand by and watch that take place, I would have intervened. Going to smack a child is bad enough, but to publicly remove her clothes as well is about humiliation and control.

Ladycoo1 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:46:40

Banana would you if you had a 1 year old trying to nap in the push chair and a 5 year old playing on your own? I feel so bad.

OP’s posts: |
BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:48:20

Yes, I would to be honest, even if it it was restricted to a verbal only challenge. It would go against every fibre of my being to do nothing.

Ladycoo1 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:52:05

Banana I felt similar but I considered what my interventions would be for the child if I showed up the pighead in front of the park when she got home.

OP’s posts: |
LaurieFairyCake Fri 21-Aug-20 21:52:47

Intervene like a banshee while calling the police

Backtobasics5 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:53:08

I would of intervened too. It sounds quite bad to take a childs trousers down in public shock. I can see both sides but effectively OP you turned a blind eye. I bet the child will have long lasting memories that nobody attempted to help... also it may have given the mother a wake up call! Or at least you could of called the police at least!!!

Difficult situation but sometimes you have to speak out.

Thesearmsofmine Fri 21-Aug-20 21:55:20

It is really difficult and nobody really knows what they would do unless they were in that situation.
I like to think I would intervene and have done in certain situations but then on the flip side someone intervening can make it worse for the child because it may be taken out of them when they get home.

BrieAndChilli Fri 21-Aug-20 21:55:50

It’s hard especially when often people who intervene in things like fights etc can get hurt themselves. I think I would try and take a photo or video of the family discreetly amd then send it to social services With any other info I could get in the hope that they are already known to them or able to be tracked down. It might be the piece of the puzzle they need.
I was tha5 child though so i can remember how helpless I was and wished someone had intervened for me.

BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:56:27

@Backtobasics5 not just that, he apparently dragged her by the leg across the grass as well.

@Ladycoo1 if you were concerned about the later repercussions of intervening, that would have been a prime time to call the Police. This would undoubtedly have prompted a Children’s Services referral and some form of help.

SentientAndCognisant Fri 21-Aug-20 21:58:09

It’s all very easy to advise stage an intervention, and give it big I’d do this,that
Everyone is the big I am online
Fact is you have to make a snap in an instant “is this safe” decision
Clearly aggressive man,you don’t know, obviously used to getting physical
Op is with 2 kids one in a buggy. Of course she is at risk of she remonstrate or challenge him

IWantT0BreakFree Fri 21-Aug-20 21:59:22

@BananaPop2020 what do you think would be the outcome of that for the child? You would go home, parting yourself on the back for being such an upstanding citizen. Do you think that the child is going home with a father who has been shown the error of his ways, is now deeply remorseful and will never behave abusively again? Or do you think she'd be going home with an abusive father who is angrier than ever, having been (in his eyes) humiliated and challenged by a stranger, and now feeling like he needs to assert himself all the more?

It's important when it comes to interventions like this to consider whether you are intervening for the safety of the child or to ease your own conscience having witnessed it. In the circumstances described by OP, I don't think that remonstrating with the father would have achieved anything other than making the situation much worse for the little girl. I think I would have tried to get a car reg if possible and called the police to report it. Or reported to social services. Maybe both.

BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:59:58

@BrieAndChilli same as you, I too was that kid and nobody gave a damn because it all seemed nice and middle class and I was academically performing. I wish just one of the many people who knew the truth had intervened.

IWantT0BreakFree Fri 21-Aug-20 22:00:00

*patting yourself on the back

Backtobasics5 Fri 21-Aug-20 22:01:13

SentientAndCognisant

It’s all very easy to advise stage an intervention, and give it big I’d do this,that
Everyone is the big I am online
Fact is you have to make a snap in an instant “is this safe” decision
Clearly aggressive man,you don’t know, obviously used to getting physical
Op is with 2 kids one in a buggy. Of course she is at risk of she remonstrate or challenge him

You have a point. OP could of called the police whilst watching!

Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel Fri 21-Aug-20 22:02:14

Intervene like a banshee while calling the police

This.

SentientAndCognisant Fri 21-Aug-20 22:02:48

@ if you were concerned about the later repercussions of intervening, that would have been a prime time to call the Police. This would undoubtedly have prompted a Children’s Services referral and some form of help. NO

The police would take details of potential crime if it was reported

C&F input and some form of help. No. Not to an unknown family group, with no known names, and a only a physical description
.

BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 22:02:59

@IWantT0BreakFree you might want to lose the sarcasm. The OP asked a question, I answered it. If you care to read my later post, you would see I mentioned calling the Police would trigger a set of procedures that would go towards preventing repercussions.

BananaPop2020 Fri 21-Aug-20 22:05:06

@SentientAndCognisant YES. I don’t know where you live, but this is what happens where I am. Police would have likely attended.

Glamazoni Fri 21-Aug-20 22:07:25

There’s nothing you could have done. You had children with you whose safety had to come first. The man is a stranger so you can’t identify him to SS. Smacking is technically legal. Even if the police arrived they’d just have a word about his behaviour, they wouldn’t do anything. Abuse has to be fairly serious and regular for a child to be taken away.

JulesCobb Fri 21-Aug-20 22:07:31

If have phoned the police.

Ladycoo1 Fri 21-Aug-20 22:07:52

Just thinking from your responses maybe I should have taken a video and walked off and called the police. Or followed the family as they walked out of the park and got their car reg or address. I seriously think today will be one of my biggest regrets in life. But at least I know if I was in this situation again what I would do. Hope I never see that again.

OP’s posts: |
SentientAndCognisant Fri 21-Aug-20 22:08:37

I have not said the police won’t attend?
I said it won’t necessarily trigger a c&f intervention Or Children’s Services referral and some form of help. On the basis of a description alone, no there won’t be a referral or some form of help

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