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How do I help my SIL?

(9 Posts)
Susurrus Sun 02-Oct-11 18:56:57

I have name changed for obvious reasons before posting this. I really don't know what to do.

Dh was told by his brother today that their 14 year old sister has told their mum that her father (dh & dh's brother's stepfather) has sexually abused her. I don't know any other facts about when etc yet as BIL only got given the basic facts by MIL this morning.

I don't know what is going to happen regarding reporting this to the police, if it were up to me I would not hesitate but MIL's track record for this sort of thing isn't good. DH has told me that FIL punched him when he was 8 years old for no reason that DH can remember, MIL knew about this and did nothing. FIL only stopped going for dh and BILs when they became bigger than him and by default he stopped hitting MIL too as her sons wouldn't allow him to do it.

MIL has tried leaving but has had to go back as she has no money, she has tried calling the police, ss have been involved and all have done nothing to help the situation. I really hope what has happened to SIL is the last straw but I'm worried. I feel that if they don't report it, I have a duty to, but at the same time I am worried about SIL. She is already worried about what is going to happen now she has told someone. I believe her 100% but I feel that others may not and I don't know how to support her. She has some learning difficulties and I feel that this is probably why FIL would target her rather than her sisters as he would see her as an easy target and less likely to be believed.

Although she is still married to step FIL and they live in the same house with the children, MIL has slept in her daughters room for a good few years now while FIL has the master bedroom. He will not leave the house.

I am concerned for my SIL and her sisters. I feel strongly that this needs reporting but am not sure if MIL will. DH and his brothers are already talking about going round there to sort FIL out which while I am in no doubt he deserves it, I don't want DH and BILs to get into trouble. I just wish I knew how to support SIL through all this. What if she has to continue living with him?

This is really long sorry, my head is all over the place.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 02-Oct-11 19:06:52

Is there any chance that SIL could stay with you or another family member for a while? Realise that may not be possible. In reality, FIL should leave the family home but you don't seem to think this is likely.

Hopefully someone with more experience will be along to help. sad

Susurrus Sun 02-Oct-11 19:15:34

Although there isn't room for them all, I wouldn't hesistate to have her stay here (and her sisters - they are all under 16) to keep them safe. DH feels the same way and I'm sure he will have told his mum this.

I think the whole family is very disilusioned with the way the authorities handle FILs behaviour towards them and I think this is what is making SIL doubtful of going further with this. I can't imagine given the circumstances that the police/ss would let FIL stay in the house with the children while this allegation is investigated but in the past, ss have told MIL that the children can't stay in the same house has FIL (due to his violence) but they can't make FIL leave so MIL had to go, which is why she had to go back to him as she can't afford to live elsewhere.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 02-Oct-11 19:42:21

Suggest she calls Women's Aid as this would seem to be a situation where help is definitely needed... I assume it's his house?

Susurrus Sun 02-Oct-11 19:53:55

The house is in both MIL and FIL's names although he never pays the mortgage (but I know that means nothing legally).

I'll try and get her in touch with Women's Aid.

ImperialBlether Sun 02-Oct-11 20:07:07

Get the children out of the house immediately. Then if they don't tell the police, you must tell them. It's the only way to get this pig out of the house.

Susurrus Sun 02-Oct-11 20:56:58

I have just come off the phone from MIL so I have a bit of a clearer picture of what has happened today.

SIL has said that this has happened since she was about 7 years old. She only said anything at all because FIL has been kicking off about one her brothers staying overnight at someone elses house because he didn't give permission and there may be predators living there ffs! So SIL told her mum what he had been doing to her.

MIL said that alot has clicked into place after hearing this - things she didn't think anything of at the time but now is in turmoil over. She is packing with the kids right now. She said that SIL is terrified of going to the police and is hysterical saying that that no-one else can know. MIL has tried explaining that nothing bad will happen to SIL for telling and that they need to do something about FIL because what if he started on her sister (she's 8). SIL said that if he tries to get access to her sister (through custody for example) then she will report it.

MIL is worried that reporting it against SILs wishes will damage her even more. What do we do? I would phone the police without hesitation but SIL really doesn't want anyone to.

Who can SIL talk to to get professional advice about what will happen if she reports it? Surely anyone in authority (ss/doctor etc) will phone the police automatically?

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 02-Oct-11 21:08:07

OK... NSPCC here will be your best bet. Please call them.

BelleDameSansMerci Sun 02-Oct-11 21:09:34

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