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WWYD Pregnant neighbour being beaten by husband.

(25 Posts)
AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 05:24:18

OMG Where to start.

New neighbours moved in next door a couple of months ago. We're all in service family accomodation and I suspect that they got married hastily as she is pregnant (now 24 weeks) and SFA is quite cheap (they weren't living together before).

I've heard them shouting at eachother over the past weeks but tonight she was screaming and sounded absolutely terrified. I couldn't lay in bed listening to it so got dressed and went round (with hindsight should have rung the police, especially as I am 14 weeks and DH is not here). I brought her round here and she's now asleep in my spare bed. Turns out he had been trying to strangle her.

She's got no midwife, GP or family in the area and no where to go other than 6 hours down the road to home. She says that the violence has been escalating since she moved in and when he's not being violent he's being verbally abusive.

I rang the maternity ward for advice and they suggest phoning the police, I agree that she should. She's planning on going home for 0930 as they have someone coming with a cot to sell them, but I think that she should report it to the police once she wakes up. I'm not saying she should leave him right now, things are never that simple, but if she reports it to the police he will have to get help with anger management and coping strategies.

She keeps asking me what she should do but I don't know. I think she wants to stay with him and she loves him, but she's frightened. I'm also frightened for her and for the baby.

What to I say to her? Should I just tell her to phone the police? sad I'm worried that he'll take it out on her that I know.

Longtalljosie Sat 15-Aug-09 05:37:03

Well, as you'll get told a lot during your own pregnancy, by midwives and health visitors, domestic violence can escalate during pregnancy.

You suggest that phoning the police would be less of a big step than leaving him - while I agree he should be reported to the police, I would suggest her moving out would be the obvious and simplest thing to do under the circumstances.

It's very possible this person has undermined her self-esteem comprehensively - but talk to her as a mother-to-be. Ask her what sort of environment she wants her children to be born into. Suggest at very least, she needs some time away to think.

Thinking about your situation - when is your own husband back? I don't like to think of you with a violent man next door and on your own.

AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 05:49:58

DH back october. But don't worry, he'll not be next door if she moves out. I'll report him to the housing guy (who I am on first name terms with) and he'll be evicted more or less straight away. Also have direct line to RAF police who will be able to arrest him with more ease than civvy police anyway.

These men are usually controlling cowards, he wont do anything that people can detect easily, he was all nicey nicey at the door and introducing himself to me, wanker.

I suggested she move home (as in back to family) for a few weeks to sort her head out, also mentioned about baby coming into that environment plus fact that as she's due in december getting away from him after that will be made all the more difficult by the awful weather we have up here. She's confused and upset, I don't want to be another controlling person and force her into something she doesn't want. I'm going to try to get her to ring the police in an hour or so once she's had some kip.

Longtalljosie Sat 15-Aug-09 06:05:32

Good plan. So is she the services person then, rather than him? Because if so, I guess after she did move out (if that's what she decided to do) the housing officer could get her a different quarter?

Kyte Sat 15-Aug-09 06:12:43

I think calling the police is really important. If she doesn't, he could get partial custody (if they don't manage to work it out / get anger counselling etc) of the baby which would not be good if he's violent but has nothing indicating it to the courts.

At the very least, will she let you take pictures of any marks / bruises?

If it were me, I'd get someone big and strong to go round with her if she's determined to go back to pick up the cot.

AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 06:21:11

He's the service person, but as with my DH if she leaves he is no longer entitled to the house as he would be classed as a single person. If he is threatening towards me at the very least I could ask for him to be put back in single person accomodation on camp (our houses are off-base). Although to be honest I don't think I'm at much risk as these men are just cowardly bullies, they wont pick on someone who will fight back (not literally, ie. with authorities). I must say I feel really stupid for not just calling the police though.

The strong man idea is a good one and I think I know one who would be willing to do the job.

She has no marks that I can see, but that doesn't mean what she said happened didn't. He's also pushed her around a few times.

I'm going to try to get her to phone her grandmother (who she used to live with) and also ask her what she would do if her LO (who she knows is a wee girl) came to her in 22 years and told her this story.

The more I think about it the more I realise she cannot go home until she's spoken to the police. This girl is in real danger.

racmac Sat 15-Aug-09 07:06:18

Do you not have welfare people within the services? Can you not ask them to intervene?

I would really be dissuading her from going home but be prepared that she might go back and this carry on for a while yet.

All you can do is keep doing what you are doing and if she goes home and you hear a repeat of last night call the police immediately.

AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 07:48:06

Oh dear, DH just phoned me from Afghanistan to tell me off. I've got him all worried now. Poor DH.

mrswee Sat 15-Aug-09 08:01:53

Poor girl, poor you!

In addition to what has been said already re police ect.

You said she doesn't have a midwife or doctor in the area?
Maybe you can persaude her to go to your doctor? even just as a temporary patient, she should really get herself and the baby checked over if she has been suffering like this and then in turn what ever the doctor says and the support they will offer her may give her more strength do do something positive about it.

good luck!

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Aug-09 08:11:33

It is really difficult to know what to do in domestic abuse situations. Calling the police is the obvious solution, but as you say, he will be nice and friendly and say it was all a misunderstanding and if there are no visible bruises/marks, they will unlikely do much at this stage - leaving her open to more abuse for getting authorities involved.

The best thing for her to do is leave. Right now and do not return. But, again, in a cycle of abuse, she will potentially be blaming herself already, and will be preparing for the potential abuse to come by convincing herself she deserves it/to be expected for getting someone else involved. So she might not leave him right now either.

I would suggest calling Women's Aid for some advice. Or if you feel you want to call the police, ask to talk to the domestic abuse team direct rather than force enquiries.

This woman is in a very very vulnerable position with an unborn baby and Women's Aid may be able to talk about what she can do to stay safe/help prepare her to leave (perhaps be able to offer her a place in the event of her needing to flee immediately, until she can figure out what she will do, and offer her guidance). Even if she does not want to talk to them now, she can have the number and some routes out if/when she needs to. She might be more prepared to talk to them than the police though.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Aug-09 08:13:27

I am not sure if it is called women's aid any more either. Where I am, it has been changed to the Domestic Abuse Service or something similar, so worth checking - the domestic abuse team (which is the police domestic violence unit) will be able to give you the number.

OnlyWantsOneWantsAnother Sat 15-Aug-09 08:14:30

could you involve army welfare?

Longtalljosie Sat 15-Aug-09 08:29:16

The army welfare service would def want to help, but I'd imagine she'd balk at telling her partner's employers. Best to persuade her to get some help outside the army to begin with, I think. Women's Aid, and could she see your doctor? You could call the receptionist and explain the situation - maybe she could pull some strings...

beautifulgirls Sat 15-Aug-09 09:47:31

Please don't let her go back to him, whatever you do. She is a victim in all this and the decision process about calling the police etc is going to be less clear to her being emotionally involved than to those on the outside. It may seem like an easier option to her to just go back, say sorry to him and blame herself here, but if he has treated her like this once it is a sad fact it is highly likely to happen again. If you ask her what she wants she may well tell you that she wants to go back and no more fuss. Please don't let her do it. This man needs to be helped, maybe punished for his actions and if she goes back that will not happen.
You need to call the police or some sort of power of authority from the forces to intervene here and ensure that there is never a repeat of this situation. If you cant get her to agree to this then please just call anyway for her sake. She might not seem too pleased but you would be doing the right thing for the right reasons.

dcgc Sat 15-Aug-09 10:26:43

I think you have to get the police involved. I can speak with fairly good authority, as a police officer, that domestic abuse escalates. Sadly I have come across a number of domestic abuse cases which have resulted in the victim paying the highest price of keeping it "behind closed doors."

You will be a witness to her screaming etc and if there are marks etc these can be recorded now by a Doc whilst they are still visible. All of which will help convict the idiot who thinks it's ok to behave like this.

Obviously she has to be willing to tell the police what's been going on, but if she's scared there are so many agencies/womens hostels who offer excellent services. She has to think of the bigger picture and her unborn child. Hope this helps. She's lucky that she has someone who cares enough to help nearby, so many people turn the other cheek.

smallwhitecat Sat 15-Aug-09 11:02:12

Message withdrawn

AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 11:13:47

Sorry I haven't replied in a while. She phoned her family this morning, then the police, then I took her the a&e.

She's been seen by doctors and midwives and her and the baby are fine (thank goodness). I've dropped her off at a friends house so she's safe and she's ringing the police again as we speak.

I'm tired but can't go to sleep yet as I need to wait until she tells me what the police have said. My DH seems to think that if I ring RAF police they will remove her H (sorry can't put D) from the house, so maybe once she's spoken to civvy police we'll need to ring them.

I feel such a fool for not just ringing the police when I heard her screaming last night. sad

TheDMHatesMe Sat 15-Aug-09 11:24:37

Good for you AC! What a good neighbour you are, and very brave. It probably would have been more sensible to call the police last night, but then he might just have fobbed them off. This ways she's had really good support from you.

Strongly agree that she should speak to Women's Aid, and that going back to him could put her and the baby in danger.

Women's Aid

dcgc Sat 15-Aug-09 11:40:24

Well done AC! And don't beat yourself up over not calling the police last night, people react differently to stressful situations. Hindsight is a wonderful thing...

The main thing is she is taking positive action and that is as a result of you being there, so good for you. Sounds as though she has a good support network with family and friends etc. She just has to see that he won't change and that she needs to get out of the realationship whilst she still has the strength.

Grandhighpoohba Sat 15-Aug-09 11:50:03

Always contact the police! Even if it comes to nothing. When eventually he is prosecuted for this kind of thing in the future, he will say that it has never ever happened before. But the authorities will be able to look up all the police call outs that didn't lead to prosecution, showing that it's a pattern of behaviour, making it much easier to protect her/remove him/keep him away from the family. A phone call to Social Work wouldn't go amiss either- gets him known to services so that they know what they are dealing with.

Glad she is doing something about this, but on average, women will return to abusive partner 7 times, so you might need to be prepared to support her longer term.

And I've said it on other threads, but I'll say it again, cos its good to get the message out. Anger management is the last thing he needs. Abusive partners use their anger to control others, they are skilled in managing it. Its a tool. Needs to go to specialist men who abuse course, which is hopefully available through the local Probation service. (it is in Scotland)

smallwhitecat Sat 15-Aug-09 11:58:03

Message withdrawn

swallowedAfly Sat 15-Aug-09 12:15:12

Message withdrawn

AngelaCarleen Sat 15-Aug-09 16:28:26

The police have been, taken statements, he's locked up, for now, and she's safe.

Why can't people just be nice to eachother?

I am rewarding myself with a huge bowl of ben and gerry's and some posh pop. And a nap.

Thanks for all the messages.

xx

vinblanc Sat 15-Aug-09 16:37:24

You are a great neighbour, Angela. A true Good Samaritan.

PavlovtheForgetfulCat Sat 15-Aug-09 19:26:48

I think it was probably better not to call the police last night, but to remove her from the situation first and let her call the police. If the police were called to the house with her there last night, he may well have convinced them, got her to convince them it was a domestic argument that got out of hand and nothing to worry about. Maybe he would not have been beleived, but maybe he would have been depending on how she behaved.

By her coming to yours and being able to remove herself from the situation, and get an outside perspective on what happened, she was able to make a rational decision about what she wanted to do. That will empower her, which she really needs.

I think you did the right thing by waiting, and good for you for encouraging her to contact the police.

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