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domestic violence against a male relative

(6 Posts)
parakeet Sun 18-Sep-11 21:16:07

This is a very complicated situation. I'm not sure if this is the right forum, but here goes.

My MIL and PIL jointly care for their adult disabled son (in wheelchair). I have known for some time that PIL has a temper, and that he and the son often have fierce arguments. My husband doesn't seem to want to get involved. Recently MIL recently told me that occasionally PIL behaves terribly to their son (she gave me some examples and it appalled me - calling him a cunt, punching the pillow only a few inches from his face) and on a few occasions PIL has hit him.

I think she would leave him if she could but she has bad health, is sometimes in hospital for several days at a time, so there is only PIL there to get the son out of bed, dress, clean him etc. When they're getting on, they are quite civil to each other, he takes him to the pub and on day trips. I think it's when he's tired or drunk he loses his temper and takes it out on their son.

I have always thought that if I ever learned of someone committing domestic violence I would try to help and step in, but what can I do here? They live at the other end of the country from us so we can't help with caring for the son. We don't visit very often (partly because of the bad atmosphere) and I feel I can barely look PIL in the face now.

To complicate matters MIL also said he is "getting better" because she's started standing up to him. So perhaps I should leave things alone. But I do know it was happening as recently as last year.

OberonTheHopeful Sun 18-Sep-11 21:28:00

OP, this doesn't sound good at all. Their son is disabled and dependent on care? He doesn't deserve to live in fear.

You can contact the NCDV or ManKind. You can also call PIL's local authority who have an obligation to help. Ask for the community safety department. But please do something.

Birdland Sun 18-Sep-11 21:40:30

Hi parakeet, their son would also be regarded as a vulnerable adult by virtue of his disability. I'd also suggest that you contact the Local Authority and ask them to put you through to the Safeguarding Adults Team who will be able to offer advice/intervention.
I'd agree with oberon your BIL doesn't deserve to live in fear and needs protection from this abuse.

I hope things work out ok

parakeet Mon 19-Sep-11 14:11:56

Thanks both of you for your suggestions. I should have explained more clearly the reason I have not already reported PIL. If PIL left, MIL could not look after the son by herself, so presumably he would have to live in a care home - that is not something either of them would want. I worry that if I told the local authority, it would trigger a disaster. Maybe the police would make him leave, maybe PIL would leave anyway (out of anger for MIL telling?). Son would have to go into home, and they would all be furious with me. However I could try contacting the charities you suggest anonymously and see if they have any suggestions.

OberonTheHopeful Mon 19-Sep-11 15:39:16

Hi parakeet, I can see your dilemma. Would it be worth contacting a disability charity? (Sorry, don't know any appropriate ones offhand.) I'm sure thy must have seen this type of situation before.

Is your MIL's main concern about caring for her son on her own? It is possible to get help with this, though I believe it would be means tested as 'social' rather than 'medical' care. A charity would certainly be able to advise. And how is your MIL bearing up under all this?

parakeet Mon 19-Sep-11 18:49:10

Pretty damn stoicly as far as I can make out! I don't want to give too many more details for fear of identifying myself but things have been changing in the past year or two that I think have given MIL more confidence to stand up to him. I wonder if the reason she has told me is she wants to out him and is no longer prepared to suffer in silence. She keeps drip-feeding more and more bad things he has done, sometimes just to me, sometimes to me and my husband. (I totally believe her by the way.) I think things are going to come to a head, with or without my intervention - probably this Christmas if I had to lay a bet.

Anyhow, thanks for the suggestions. Cheers.

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