Page 2 | Please help - DSis just disclosed awful truth about her relationship -what do we do next?

(114 Posts)
ItsGettingLight Mon 03-Aug-20 05:08:34

My poor sister has just confessed the dreadful situation she is living in with her partner. I always knew he was an arsehole but had no idea the full extent - he is emotionally, financially and sexually abusive to her. sad

I need practical advice on how to help her get out. She has told me she wants out, but doesn’t want to tell him until she and the children are all set up somewhere and she can just walk away. She doesn’t know how to make this happen and nor do I, although I know from being on here that it can be done. They aren’t married, he owns the property they live in, they have two children together. We are in Scotland. She works part time and she has told me that she has used an online benefit calculator and thinks she would be OK money wise once out. She has no cash at her disposal at present but we/our parents could help her. She looks after the children apart from during her PT job, which she tries to do during the evenings and overnight so her partner doesn’t have to have the kids on his own too much.

I want to help her leave. Please tell me what we need to do to organise a home and benefits without his knowledge.

OP’s posts: |
Bentoforthehorde Mon 03-Aug-20 08:37:47

If it was my sister, I would get a key and take anything of there's that wouldn't be too noticeable whilst they are away. Clothes etc.
When they got back I would move her straight in with me whilst he was at work and get calling all the domestic abuse charities.
I'd sleep downstairs and give her and the kids my room.
It might affect council housing but I couldn't leave my sister to be sexually or physically abused in any way.
She will probably need help not to back track or minimise, I know from my own experience and with others that if you have been trained to accept that you are at fault or that if you do as you are told the abuse will stop (it doesn't, but in the calm after the storm you believe it, or submit out of fear that next time will be worse) it really is important to have outside support.
Do IDAS cover Scotland?
Good luck OP

MrsNoah2020 Mon 03-Aug-20 08:43:57

I say this on many threads... have her change her passwords and tighten up her security. When she’s browsing the internet make sure she clears aval of her browser history after she’s done. This will allow her to search for help like Women’s Aid, Child Maintenance, Universal credit, etc without fear of being caught or inciting retribution. She should create a new email address with a password that’s un-guessable by her partner so she can securely navigate her exit

Good advice. She also needs to be aware he may have put trackers on her phone and other devices. She needs to Google how to detect these and remove. It would also be sensible to get a 2nd phone that he doesn't know about.

Dullardmullard Mon 03-Aug-20 08:52:58


I don't know about Scotland. It's about 5 weeks for universal credit in England.

5-8 weeks usually here

AuntieStella Mon 03-Aug-20 08:53:25

Depending on how long it might take for her to make arrangements to leave safely, it might also be worth her going out a little more irregularly - this will give her more leeway to hide important appointments.

And turn her phone off (in a dead zone) and mention (no more than twice) that her battery is going, so that can be a cover story if there are times she wants her phone off for other reasons,

Amber2019 Mon 03-Aug-20 08:54:53

She will be entitled to uc, financially she will be ok. Once she applies she will get payment 1 calendar month and 7 days later. She will be entitled to an advance within a few days. She can get temporary accommodation.
Living with family wont affect benefits. If the family she moves in with are then overcrowded she will be able to go on the council list and bid. If she contacts the local housing assosiation they can get her temporary accommodation right now. The local housing where I am arent taking bids still due to lockdown but there is a number to call in emergencies where they can give housing. I'm in glasgow, I dont know if that's the same situation elsewhere in scotland.
Obviously that all depends on how she wants to do it. I think right now she needs to start getting a plan to get everything she needs away from him, passports, birth certificates, separate banks etc.

WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:09:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.


WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:12:50

I had been posting winter clothes home to my parents house (expensive, but less expensive than replacing everything) because I knew that when I left it'd be with a bag and a buggy. He caught me coming back from the post office once, but still, I do recommend a strategy to get her most valuable stuff out of the house in dribs and drabs. Don't worry about kids stuff. It can all be replaced from Tesco if necessary.

Dullardmullard Mon 03-Aug-20 09:13:11

If you can’t put her up she really needs to go into a refuge seriously one there she can If she want open up on what’s Happened to her

I agree she needs to use private browsing in EVERYTHING so he doesn’t see what she’s doing.
You can’t talk on her behalf by the way she has to do it sorry
Now she’s told you keep asking when she’s leaving. Like so when’s D day sort of thing.

He may try to cut her off from you all or she may do that but he’s pulling the strings but keep that line open regardless.

On average it takes 7 goes to actually leave for good.

When she leaves she needs to take out a non harassing order which is the equivalent of a non molestation order.

Not sure about the kids as he’ll use them a leverage or try to. But I’d be inclined to tell her to get in contact with SS.

Plus if her oldest is due school soon and it’s comes to light of any abuse the school will report it. Sorry to be blunt there.

Now she’s opened up ask her little things so she’ll open up more and how is she going away unless local with the pandemic going on. I’d be using it as an excuse not to go with the rise in cases

WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:23:46

Having gone through this, I wish now I had been less scared of going to a refuge.

As for her eldest, there will always be a reason to stay. I left when my eldest was a similar age and it was a good time to leave. There was a bit of organisation and admin involved but there will always be admin and organisation if you relocate.

Please tell her from somebody who did this, her child will adjust in six weeks and at that age, six weeks seems like forever. Do not use having a school place as an excuse to stay. It will GET sorted. Maybe there will be a delay in getting it sorted, but it will be sorted.

Sorting all of this stuff out is not as hard as she will be anticipating because when you're sorting your life out without the kryptonite of an abusive relationship sapping the life out of you, the organisation and administration of uprooting your life can seem surprisingly ''do-able'' suddenly.

QueenofmyPrinces Mon 03-Aug-20 09:23:49

I think I’ve read things in the past about being careful about staying with relatives as this could affect emerita and/or eligibility for council housing. Can anyone tell me if this is right?

When my sister came to stay with me she had no problems getting her benefits, she phoned them and explained the situation and it wasn’t a problem at all.

I would say it took about 5 weeks for the money to get to her.

Whilst your sister is at the point where she has spoken our for help, this is the time to get her away from him. The longer she remains in the home the more likely she is to end up staying with him.

Act now.

If you or her family can’t put her to them like a previous poster said, you need to try and get her into a refuge.

If she is suffering abuse at home then she needs to get out now, in any way possible.

WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:25:49

ps, recommend that after she's left she change sim so that he cannot send a barrage of abusive texts.

WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:27:54

YOur sister probably feels a refuge isn't for people like her.

I thought that. Because I wasn't been beaten black and blue. Try and make her understand that a refuge is exactly for people like her. Women who know that they just need a helping hand, a stepping stone. Women who will sort out their life but they just need that raft to get there. I wish I'd understood that.


WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 09:30:08

ps, also, if she goes to a refuge, they will make her understand the futility of believing his lies that he will change etc
As mentioned, upthread, it can take a few goes to get away forever and they make it harder each time, but unfortunately there's that temptation to believe the lies. Going to a refuge first would mean that she got to talk to the people who can let her know what trick he'll pull out of the hat next. It's all very text book. They all follow the same script.

Menora Mon 03-Aug-20 09:35:25

Staying with family may affect her housing situation with the council but the only other options are:

Go to a refuge - this is a good and safe option for her
You and your parents help her with a deposit in private rental and set it all up ready for her to move in - this option involves waiting

A council property will not happen quickly, I think this is one option not the only option and she needs to stay safe, and be safe away from him

Universal credit is about 5 weeks but they may offer her an upfront payment initially

IceCreamSummer20 Mon 03-Aug-20 09:40:20

Contact women’s aid yourself if necessary and they can advise.

I was in a similar position once. No claim to the house.

I would think that the best way is for her to move in with you or other family temporarily. This will not affect her housing ability as it is temporary and not suitable long term. It will take time to sort out a place to move into and incredibly difficult to do from within her home. If she waits she is putting herself at risk and her children.

The above advice is good - detailed about what she needs to bring.

SirVixofVixHall Mon 03-Aug-20 09:52:41

I agree with a Pp, that once she has left and is away from the constant anxiety of living with him, she will have more energy to start sorting out practicalities, so although this stage is difficult and stressful, beyond that things will improve.

It is good that she has told you what is going on, and that now she has family help and support.

Why is he in your home, are they staying with you now ? Is she worried he could get violent ?

mamapearl Mon 03-Aug-20 10:14:52

Think she can get a court order to stay in the house although they're not married as this would come under best interests for the children.

makingmiracles Mon 03-Aug-20 10:23:37

Also, depending on areas, I can only speak for mine(not Scotland) women in refuges with children are top priority for council rehousing so she may only have to be in a refuge for a short time before being offered somewhere to live.

If they are going away can she give you a key to leave you one somewhere so you can go in a retrieve important stuff like birth certs, passports etc?

She needs to be very careful, during leaving is the most dangerous time for DV.

Wakaranaihito Mon 03-Aug-20 10:31:06

Great practical advice here from everyone. Just one more - don't criticise or demonize him - focus on the behaviours and how they make her feel. You are right that she may go back into her shell. Just make sure she knows there is no judgement and she can tell you anything, anytime.

Then find someone you trust to help you manage the impact this will have on you. Good luck - she is lucky to have you.

Hubstar Mon 03-Aug-20 10:58:00


Can I just say thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

My stepfather was abusive. To me. My mother. He would do things like make me sit at the table till I’d eaten my dinner. Once I sat in the room for near on 3 days. My mother never knew about that. But yes.

Or he’d do horrific things. Like hit me over the head with metal poles. Causing such bad concussion I couldn’t talk properly for a week.

One night we managed in the dark of night to get away. But nobody would take us. Family didn’t know what he was like. So wouldn’t take us. There were no local shelters then. So we couldn’t go there.

I remember the drive back......the feeling of just awful hopelessness. Knowing that we might not even survive the next 24 hrs. He could beat us so much for leaving that we might get killed. I was a child at the time. I remember my mother being hysterical. But she’s been grind down so much at that point by him that she didn’t think she could do anything else.

So thank you. For helping your sister get out. Because if someone had done that for us. Then I wouldn’t of had the childhood I did. It’s so nice to know that someone. Anyone cares whether you’re alive or dead.

gottastopeatingchocolate Mon 03-Aug-20 11:01:17

She is very fortunate to have you, OP.

I would contact WA, or a local DA agency, yourself, and they will talk you through her options.

I fled the house with my child on a rare moment that my abuser went out. I had to take everything I could - including all vital paperwork. Anything that I left behind was lost to me. It sounds silly, but think about some of the sentimental things that she might not want to lose forever, "Things" can be replaced, but things like baby's first outfit can't.

I had spoken to my bank manager, in confidence, prior to leaving, and had a new account ready and waiting. All documentation was delivered to the bank, not my home. My mum transferred some funds into it the day after I fled. It mattered when applying for rental properties - "ho long have you been with your current bank?" came up as a question.

My sibling stood as my guarantor on my rental property. It meant I could rent.

I had a couple of weeks at a friend's house before finding a rental, as they were away on holiday and things got a bit urgent, meaning I had to leave there and then.

Is it easy to communicate with her? Does he have a mobile? Can you buy her a new SIM? I used to be able to go the library to use the computers, but I know this isn't an option in these times.

I know people will say get her out now, but if it takes a little longer to get her out safely that's OK, too. It was 16 months from me first reaching out for help until the day I finally got away. I am not recommending that, but a few extra weeks might make things safer in the long term.

howfarwevecome Mon 03-Aug-20 11:02:39

Bemorechicken has provided a very solid outline of how to do it quickly and efficiently. You just have to all be ready to go and then go.

I hope she doesn't backtrack either, OP. It wouldn't be unheard of.

Lollypop4 Mon 03-Aug-20 11:06:47

Its 5 weeks in Wales also for universal credit BUT you can request an emergency loan, this will be the anount expected to recieve once official u.c goes theough. Your sister will have an amount taken of u.c to cover the loan payment.

Hope she gets out soon.x

WinnieLo Mon 03-Aug-20 11:07:54

/second what @hubstar says. There's obviously a lot of pressure put on women to leave, and stigma if they don't, but so, so often the exact shape of the obstacle is that they have nowhere to go and no money when they get there.

serene12 Mon 03-Aug-20 11:09:27

It must taken a lot of courage for your sister to disclose abuse to you, abuse thrives on secrecy and shame. Women’s Aid will be able to give you advice and support your sister and the children. People are afraid to speak to social services, as they are afraid that that the children are going to be removed from the victim’s care. In my experience this very rarely happens. Social Services look at perpetrator accountability, the victim’s strengths i.e. how have they protected the children. S S can support the family with housing, benefits and paramount is the children’s wellbeing, by providing therapeutic help for the children. I’ve seen women empowered and their and their children’s lifes transformed when they have engaged with S S.
Mean while you can maybe help your sister to gather evidence, which will help her if she decides to report her partner to the Police.

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