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Relative being intimidated.

(15 Posts)
absolutelynotfabulous Fri 11-Dec-15 19:05:49

Not sure what to do about this (if anything).

I have a cousin (older than me but not elderly) who's a bit of an invalid. He gets everything done for him-cleaning, support, lifts, shopping etc. He's been using the services of a local couple: the woman cleans and the man does diy and walks my cousin's dog. He pays them over the odds for these services, and he would struggle without their help, probably.

He's had a few issues with cash going missing over the past couple of years. He's bought a safe at my suggestion. He hasn't mentioned cash going missing until the other day, when he claimed that he (my cousin) saw the man take some notes from his (my cousin's) pocket.

He also mentioned that a phone I'd bought him for his birthday (value:£50) had gone missing (I needed it to return it to the shop).

When I asked him why he was allowing these people into the house he said that he was afraid of recriminations (ie the man "beating him up"). I'm really concerned. I visit regularly but I don't live close by. My cousin has mental capacity. He cannot seem to stand up to these people and when I probe him on the details of what's been happening he backs down.

I don't know what to do. I feel I should be doing something, though, as his closest (blood) relative. But what?

I'm happy to either confront these people myself or to get the police involved (although proving anything would be difficult).

Any advice?

Arfarfanarf Fri 11-Dec-15 19:14:11

I would get social services involved if he needs care and support they are supposed to be on board. Perhaps knowing that a proper team are there would be enough to get these people to back off. He can then buy services from professionals.

If you confront these people - you then have him alone to face dealing with that. Same with the police. If his fear is of them beating him up, then you dealing with them doesn't remove that. He will still fear the repercussions.

That said, it would of course be best to go to the police, but if that's not what he wants and if he has capacity, then he has the right to not have it reported or followed up. He will be deemed to have the right and the capability to make that choice. (capacity is something I am struggling with re my children atm as they begin the process of transitioning to adult services in the near future)

Another option might be for you to see if he would be willing to move house. Perhaps live closer to you and far enough away from these people that they could be removed from his life.

absolutelynotfabulous Fri 11-Dec-15 19:25:31

Thanks arf. Should have mentioned that he does in fact have a Social Worker, and a good one (luckily). He gets support from SS but I'm not sure if they are aware of what's going on.

I agree about him living with the repercussions. I don't have to. I just hate watching this pair take advantage of my cousin, and frustrated at him for not standing up for himself.

I doubt he'll be interested in moving away. He's lived in the house all his life, knows everyone and everyone knows (and understands) him.

I'm glad you agree on the capacity issue.

Arfarfanarf Fri 11-Dec-15 19:52:41

if he has a social worker then it's them you need to lean on. They should be ensuring he isn't being exploited.

Capacity is hard to get your head round. It is hard to see someone who is vulnerable but who meets the capacity criteria being used or making poor choices and it is hard to actually take that deep breath and accept that they have the absolute right to make choices that you don't think are right, or say no to things that you think they should do. Because you do want to step in and make things 'right' and not doing so can feel like not caring, but of course it's not that, it's understanding a person's right to self determination.

It's hard because I bet you want to go round to those people with a baseball bat.

Carry on talking it through with him, talk through his options and his fears.

pocketsaviour Fri 11-Dec-15 23:35:39

I would definitely speak to his SW as I think this would fall under safeguarding.

SweeneyToddFlyingSquad Sat 12-Dec-15 07:42:54

Maybe have a hidden camera installed to collect the evidence...I'm sure the police can help with this given your cousins circumstances

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 12-Dec-15 08:01:30

I've been wondering about collecting evidence too, sweeney. But my cousin has made it clear that he fears the consequences of police involvement. I think SS is the way to go, and at least he listens to his SW (he tends to ignore anything I say).

FredaMayor Sat 12-Dec-15 09:24:19

If your cousin is fearing recriminations then there must have been something that has occurred to base it on. Morally and ethically I don't think you can continue to let him live in fear or feel intimidated in his own home, and I would suggest making a plan of action without the couple getting to hear about it. If he understands the process and trusts you and SS that will go a long way towards allaying his fears.

This is not the first I have heard of such a set up and often it turns out that what your cousin is telling you is the tip of the iceberg.

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 12-Dec-15 09:57:48

freda yes, I'm sure this sort of thing is quite common. My cousin isn't wealthy by any means, but may well appear so to certain elements of the population: he has inherited his house from his mother, his money has been mainly acquired via state benefits but he has spent very little. His spending is mainly on private healthcare.

I'm certain something is going on; but it is hard to pin down. The threat of violence I believe, but as soon as I mention doing something about it, my cousin backs off. So either the threat is real, or my cousin is prepared to leave things as they are.

Whatever's going on, it's not nice. I have it on my conscience, but I don't feel I can barge in.

And my cousin can be a bit.....disingenuous.. too. And manipulative. He does things and says things for attention sometimes. He's used to lots of attention.

FredaMayor Sat 12-Dec-15 11:26:00

my cousin can be a bit.....disingenuous.. too. And manipulative. He does things and says things for attention sometimes. He's used to lots of attention.

I'm not surprised to hear that either but I think it may be irrelevant. You will not be barging in, OP, your cousin is vulnerable and you have some information which should be investigated without bias.

pocketsaviour Sat 12-Dec-15 12:53:32

And my cousin can be a bit.....disingenuous.. too. And manipulative. He does things and says things for attention sometimes. He's used to lots of attention.

In that case, proceeding as if what he has said is 100% accurate is the best way forward, as if he has just made things up, it will be such a PITA that he may well resolve not to do it again in future!

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 12-Dec-15 13:08:15

I don't think he's made this up, tbh. I think there's enough evidence to at least prove that he's being taken advantage of. He may be exaggerating for effect. The theft -if it's theft-is low grade and involving small amounts-small enough to be put down to carelessness. Apart from the phone. If that's been taken, it's a concrete item. And worth something as it's brand new.

My dilemma is: how do I conduct an investigation without the repercussions rebounding on my cousin?

pocketsaviour Sat 12-Dec-15 13:40:38

I would make speaking to the SW your first port of call and let them take the lead on this.

Unfortunately the story of a "lovely" person/couple who come along and befriend an older person or someone with limited mobility, and then start ripping them off, is not unusual. The pattern of small thefts then increasing in amount and regularity, then upscaling to a device like a phone which can be re-sold, is also a familiar pattern.

If confronted, the alleged thief will start the gaslighting. "No Mr Smith, remember, you put that £20 in the charity donation bucket on Tuesday, didn't you? Yes you did, I was there, remember?" Until the person starts to think they are losing capacity sad

MissApple Sat 12-Dec-15 18:28:38

Im guessing as soon as these people are aware your cousin is getting 'help' and is on the social services radar, they will back off and keep away.

absolutelynotfabulous Sat 12-Dec-15 22:10:19

missapple they know about the SS support he's getting. They're quite incorrigible and my cousin seems unable to resist them. The woman is trying to convert him to a Jehovah's Witness (he's resisting that, at least).

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