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Need advice about supporting my friend (DV related)

(4 Posts)
bedelia Tue 24-May-16 10:53:20

NC'd for this, just in case.

My friend has suffered abuse for a long long time from her husband. After a particularly nasty incident last week she came round for support and was willing to get the police involved. He was arrested and charged, bailed for a time and has to attend court next month.

I knew it wouldn't be easy for her, and am doing my best to offer support and guidance, having been through a similar experience several years ago. My friend (let's call her Sally) has two grown children who live with her. The police, WA, Housing and myself have all advised her that she should consider moving away from the family home (with DCs of course), especially as the tenancy is in her husband's name. But she doesn't want to move for a number of reasons: Sally's DD is about to take exams in the next couple of weeks; she has no family in this country, and relies on me heavily for support (we live on the same street).

A condition of bail for Sally's husband was that he shouldn't come to their house or contact her. However, he has been texting Sally's DD and last night came to the house to drop off gifts and a letter on the doorstep. Sally called the police who said they would try to arrest him again today.

I'm worried this could get far worse, especially as the court date looms when the husband will presumably have a conviction against him (and could possibly be sent to prison?). I'm also concerned that she might give in as things get worse, and also as she's finding it really difficult to sort out all of the "official" stuff (housing , TC's, etc).

At the back of my mind, I'm a bit worried at being caught up in this, especially if she does take him back. He knows Sally was here when the police were called. It wouldn't take Sherlock to work out that I was the one who called them, or that I've been giving Sally advice.

Local DV support has a waiting list, though Sally is waiting for a callback from a service I hope might be able to offer support and advice about the housing situation.

How can I best support her with this? I've read mention of "the script" on these forums, does this apply in cases of DV? If so, would appreciate it if someone could link me up with a copy.

RiceCrispieTreats Tue 24-May-16 11:26:17

It sounds like you are both doing all the right things.

Regarding Sally's choice to stay put in their home during her daughter's exams, that's actually a pretty sound reason. Especially as the husband is still presumably under an injunction not to come to their home for the time being, so there is currently an enforced peace in which the daughter can sit her exams. It's also important to support a DV victim in her active choices as she finds her way out of the relationship, as you probably know, so I would support her about that for now, while perhaps also asking her what she plans to do once the exams are over, to make sure that this is indeed an active decision rather than a passive one. You know : "Great, if staying until end-June [or whatever date] is the best thing for DD, then it sounds like the right decision. Are you discussing with WA/Council/... about where you can go once the exams are over?"

Also, Sally has shown she is willing to call the police if her H comes round, so she's enforcing that boundary. Good for her.

Regarding your concerns for your own peace and safety if the husband seeks to lash out at you, yes, you have a right to be concerned. However you can't predict or control what he will do. Plus, Sally is the one he wants to keep controlling; he's got no historical hold on you to maintain. You can be secure in the knowledge that if he does try anything, you too will be straight on the phone to the police. Right? The more he gets arrested, the less he is likely to try these kind of things. Abusers like to be in control. He won't continue to create situations where a more powerful force than him gets to intervene and plonk him in an interrogation room or cells. He'll soon prefer to go lick his wounds and proclaim his victimhood to someone else who he can lord it over, far away from Sally and from you.

As for Sally possibly caving, yes, that's always a risk. But she has taken steps on her own, and has sought support and has professional services at the end of a phone line now. So she's got lots going for her at the moment. There will be times when she feels overwhelmed, or like giving up. Hopefully she will be able to turn to the appropriate sources of support to see her through those times. If she stumbles, well, she stumbles. She won't be the first or the last. But she sounds like she has a good momentum going now. The more she engages with WA, support groups, and the police, etc, the more she will be able to see things in a new way.

And finally: yes, you do well to be aware that you can't get sucked into this. It's great to empathise and to help, but never offer more than you can give. Know how much time you are willing to spend on Sally, and be prepared to say things like: "I have to do bedtime and dinner now, Sally, but I'll call you back on Thursday at 5 if that works for you?". ie. show her you're still there for her, with clear actions or times or whatever works best for you, but that you also have a life of your own that you are also attending to.

hellsbellsmelons Tue 24-May-16 11:51:17

'The Script' is really for cheating partners.
Doesn't apply to DV abusers.
They are all irrational and abuse in many different ways.
Some know that police involvement means to back off.
Where as many will take that as an extra challenge.
As this fuckwit seems to be doing.
Support her as best you can.
She has local support services on board now so they can take most of the slack.
Do you have DP or do you live alone, with kids???....
Most of these bullies are cowards. As long as you stand up to them they will back off. But not all of them are so be careful!
You are being a good friend and that's all you can do for now.
Well done Sally on calling the police. That was big brave move on her part!

bedelia Tue 24-May-16 13:20:41

Thank you both, I really appreciate the advice smile

I'm so proud of Sally for having finally decided she (and the DCs) had had enough. In all the time I've known her, she's been desperately unhappy but was too frightened to do anything about him.

RiceCrispie - yes, I wouldn't hesitate to call the police if he even knocks on my door. I would have called last night, but wasn't aware of what transpired until this morning. Very glad Sally called them though. Until yesterday she'd assumed he wouldn't dare come near the house. I'd kept reinforcing to her that she must call the police if he came, and absolutely should not open the door to him. In his texts to Sally's DD he's being "nice" (for the first time in forever...) but I dread to think what he might do were he to gain entry to the house sad

Hellsbells - I'm a LP and two of my three are disabled, so feel a bit vulnerable in that sense.

Abusers like to be in control. He won't continue to create situations where a more powerful force than him gets to intervene and plonk him in an interrogation room or cells. He'll soon prefer to go lick his wounds and proclaim his victimhood to someone else who he can lord it over,

^ This is brilliant, and so true! A part of this may lie in cultural differences, as Sally and her STBXH moved from a country where his type of behaviour is more acceptable IYKWIM.

I do hope the police are able to find and arrest him today. It would make Sally feel so much more reassured.

Does anyone know if he might be remanded in custody until the court hearing if it's found that he's flouted the terms of his bail?

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