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Reporting abuse/neglect of underage pregnant girl

(32 Posts)
upnorth11 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:04:10

Hi there!

Sorry in advance for the (confused :-S) account...

Since Friday I had sleepless nights due to witnessing something I thought was only possible on Jeremy Kyle. I could cry forever...

We went to the funeral of a good friend and two days later to the same family's Christening. Present was also the 16-year-old niece who is around 34 weeks pregnant. I know that she has had major issues at school and with relationships there and at home. Her parents obviously lost control at some point and she had various issues including self-harming and drugs (legal+illegal). She is still together with the father of the child although a court has already ruled that she must live with her parents otherwise the baby will be taken away as the father has been convicted for various things and is a drug addict. He was not present for obvious reasons.

Now, you might think that her (middle-class) parents would try and do everything to prevent both the girl and the unborn baby coming to any possible harm, i.e. making sure she stays as healthy as possible etc etc.
Mum also seems to have issues though (due to her daughter's problems), e.g. eating disorder and possible alcohol abuse.

Basically they sat together at two family events and consumed liberal amounts of alcohol (wine, beer, sparkly wine) as well as cigarettes. It was heart-wrenching to watch the girl smoking one after the other together with her mum (and dad at times). Everyone else was just stunned. I just looked at her bump and imagined this little bundle in there twitching every time the alcohol/smoke hit and felt terribly sorry for all of them but especially baby and her. Nobody said a thing (I think). By the end, mum was terribly drunk whereas the girl still seemed pretty fine.

Dad does not intervene probably because he wants to maintain peace as either of the two females would otherwise flip.

Social services are already involved as she admitted to drug/alcohol abuse, but I don't think they appreciate the parents behaviour and attitude. Even if the child survives unharmed (seems highly unlikely) I can't see her mum and her look after the baby adequately. How is it possible they just seem to not care??? She is still only 16!

Would you report the parents to Social Services or similar agency? I know her midwife as I was with the same. I could mention it to her instead? I am fully aware that it shouldn't be my business but on the other hand I can't get my regular Safeguarding Children training go amiss that I have to undergo each year due to my job.

Opinions please. I hope I explained myself as clearly as possible and sorry for the sad read...

Thanks x

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:10:22

Statutory services will most likely already be involved due to her age. Depending on where you are, she may have a special teen parent midwife. But if you are unsure, no harm in phoning her midwife to speak about your concerns.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:15:21

Also- with regards to the smoking, while obviously a concern, that alone would not be enough for social work to rule her as being unfit as a mother (lots and lots of people smoke whilst pregnant), but they will already being keeping an eye due to the fathers addictions issues.

upnorth11 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:21:30

Yes, the social services are involved. She did not only smoke but also drink alcohol all day (beer, wine). But even if she does, how is it responsible of her parents to actively encourage her by pouring the drink and rolling the cigarettes for her, especially her mum?! They'll become after all the baby's carers.

Topsy34 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:22:59

Would a mw be able to discuss a patient though?

Maybe call social services and ask for advice, express your concern and see where it goes. I doubt they would discuss indycases either though. Nspcc?

upnorth11 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:24:40

Thank you for your response so far. I'm just stunned that's all I guess... shock

mummyneedinganswers Mon 27-Jul-15 23:25:11

I do think in some sense yes it is none of your business but as an expectant mother myself and having been in your situation previously I know the dilemma. My sister allowed my nephew to be around his father whilst on drugs and drive on drugs and eventually I told my mother who told social services, it tore our family apart but my sister saw sense. I would say did you physically see her drink alcohol as in purchase it and drink it herself as its extreme accusations if she was simply drinking a coke that you mistaking for a vodka and coke for example. The cigarettes I can't comment on as yo be fair I'm 22 weeks and smoke my sister 34 weeks and smoke and the majority of all my friends have smoked through pregnancies and had perfectly healthy babies, so the smoking I don't really see an issue with but each to there own . I physically couldn't get through my pregnancy with out cigarettes. HG back pain head aches I need them but with regards to alcohol report it if you are 100% sure as if you report about the cigs they won't take any notice as midwives don't report it either. If you are completely sure she drank alcohol and it wasn't just 1or 2 as many woman on here drink wine etc in pregnancy although I don't, she may be 16 but everyone brings up there kids differently and it may not be your place to. X

mummyneedinganswers Mon 27-Jul-15 23:30:49

And the reason Iask you to be certain is iIwas in care and people phoning social services telling stories over things they ddidn'tsee properly or mmisinterpreted a situation caused me a world of problems and still does. My mother was a brilliant mother Ihad issues with drugs drinks overdosing and my mum ccouldn'tcope with me but people reporting things they ddidn'tunderstand or ddidn't see properly didn'thelp me at all. I have always stuck to if you ddon'tknow the facts ddon'tget involved. So please please be certain cx

SerialBox Mon 27-Jul-15 23:31:13

There isn't really anything they can do. They are involved and will most likely be more so once the baby is born but as it stands right now, it's her body it's her choice.

Who was buying her alcohol? She's underage and supplying a minor with alcohol is an offence so from that standing point you could report but again.

mummyneedinganswers Mon 27-Jul-15 23:31:50

Sorry my phone keeps joining words together gs

SerialBox Mon 27-Jul-15 23:31:58

Sorry but again I'm not sure they'd do much as there probably isn't any proof. There might be though.

scarlettsmummy2 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:32:35

Midwife won't discuss it with you, but if you pass the information they can act on it as they see fit.
It is a really sad situation but hopefully there will be a positive outcome. There are lots of projects for teen parents- maybe you could find out what is available locally and pass her the details.

upnorth11 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:37:21

Hi mummyna

It was definitely alcohol, wine most times (from wine glass - at least 4 large glasses the first day, then more (sparkly) wine on Sunday followed by beer (in the can!). No harder stuff I guess (vodka etc.).
I have a 9 month old and while I only had a tiny mouthful of sparkly on NYE I have no issues with pregnant ladies having a drink or two or even as many cigarettes as they might need to get them through the day. I used to be a smoker a long time ago and know how hard it is to give up. But the sheer amount of all things consumed just blew me...
Maybe I could just mention it to the mw without further discussing it with her, even without mentioning names.

upnorth11 Mon 27-Jul-15 23:46:48

The first event was held privately with about 30 people so not too big, i.e. help yourself at the bar (table with drinks and glasses on) with me helping serving drinks so I saw who consumed what. She or her mum kept topping themselves up.
Second event with around 60 guests was held in a hired venue with a free bar (paid by host family) so you could go and ask for the drink. The guy behind the bar obviously didn't check her age/ID and her parents let her. There was NOTHING concealed, they didn't even try. They sat with other family members and everyone in the room could see it.

Frolicacid Mon 27-Jul-15 23:47:46

You can share the information confidentially with SS or the NSPCC. There is obviously a risk of the family figuring out it was you. But if there were lots of others there, it could be anyone.
It sounds like there are probably assessments on-going and the information you have about seeing her drinking with her parents could be informative. Of course there is no proof, but it might make the assessors think a bit more carefully about her support network.
this poor girl needs some good role models / guidance about how to look after herself and her baby. Sharing the information you have may be the biggest favour you ever do her and the unborn child.

mummyneedinganswers Tue 28-Jul-15 00:02:38

I agree if you know it was drink then pass the information on although if you have discussed it with any family member I would be mindful of them figuring out it was you. The wee baby can't be around that environment if it is a regular thing x

MummyPiggy87 Tue 28-Jul-15 00:03:00

That's so sad, even though I hate hearing what could be potentially damaging the poor baby, I do feel for the 16 year old. At that age I didn't really know right from wrong it's still very young (and still school age now)
Eugh, what a horrible thing to witness.
The parents sound very irresponsible giving a underage pregnant girl alcohol. Even if they weren't buying it they're still her parents and could have prevented it.
IF it were me, I would 100% be telling the midwife or whoever you need to, to let them know about the grandparents that baby is going to be looked after by who sound like a right pair of low life's.
If people didn't make it there business things like this wouldn't be dealt with.
People should make it there business more often imo.

applecore0317 Tue 28-Jul-15 04:48:50

You can call the NSPCC adult helpline and they will be able to advise

Doublebubblebubble Tue 28-Jul-15 08:16:44

I have no advice but I do happen to think that history often repeats itself, so if the mother drank and smoked during pregnancy she probably thinks its okay for her daughter to do it too. Such a shame. X good luck x

Indomitable Tue 28-Jul-15 08:20:05

If you've had safeguarding training you know you must pass on the facts to someone else and let them decide what to do with the information.

Letting the midwife (if you know where she is registered) or social services know what you saw (without speculation or interpretation) is the least you can do. As has been said previously, the behaviour wasn't hidden, it could be reported by any number of people.

I would also consider reporting the venues who supplied an underage drinker with alcohol. (The pregnancy is irrelevant here though).

I'm surprised at the parents, and I'm surprised at the 16 year old. In my experience even the most unruly young people have a very clear sense of what's right and wrong and would judge anyone drinking in pregnancy very harshly. But this family need support, and I would hope that SS will do everything they can to offer support.

upnorth11 Tue 28-Jul-15 10:57:18

Thanks for all your responses. They were really helpful. I'm going to get in touch with either midwife who looked after me and lo too, or, if I can't get hold of her will call the nspcc advice line. I hope that everything's goingv to turn out as good as possible considering the circumstances.

avocadotoast Tue 28-Jul-15 11:07:47

Yep, NSPCC would be a good shout. I've had to contact them before and they were really helpful.

(As an aside, I'm not sure that her parents being middle class proves or suggests anything...)

Sigma33 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:27:20

Yes, report the facts, and let the people involved with the family deal with it (or not).

coveredinsnot Tue 28-Jul-15 20:13:21

If you have regular safeguarding training through work then you should know that you have a responsibility to share this information. It's not about being nosey. It's about the health and wellbeing of this young woman and her unborn child. Share the information, you can do so anonymously if you're worried about them finding out. But share it with social services. It helps them build up a more accurate picture. And seeing as she and her family are unlikely to disclose their drinking and smoking habits if asked directly, it will be helpful.

upnorth11 Tue 28-Jul-15 20:47:35

Coveredinsnot - that was exactly my thinking due to the annual training at work but if it's so close to home it feels of course different when it comes to disclosing information.
I have since my last post contacted nspcc and reported what I saw. I hope they'll all get help ...

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