Worst neighbours in the world ... ever?(3 Posts)
Two years ago I opened my door to a social worker. It was a meeting I’d never anticipated – as I’m sure most of us haven’t – but still to this day the meeting sends chills down my spine.
Not that the meeting was unpleasant.
The lady introduced herself at my front door and asked if she could enter, then the first words out of her mouth were, “I’m sorry to tell you, but it appears you have been the victim of a malicious report.”
A malicious report? There was no ex-husband or ex-boyfriends or jealous ex-friends wishing to inflict harm and distress upon my children, so what could it be? This, the social worker wanted to know too and the second I mentioned who my neighbours were, here face said it all. She needed no more information. My neighbour was a colleague of her’s and she knew her all too well.
Although I think the neighbour has now resigned from her post, I already knew from friends and family in the profession that she worked as a social worker in our local First Response team. I heard that she had been assessed incompetent in every department she’d worked in. I heard that she had to be moved around the system in an endeavour to mask this incompetence. This is a person who – thanks to the years of torment she and her family inflicted on my family (including my three children’s early years) – came very close to receiving an Anti-social Behaviour Order. In fact, she’d have an ASBO if it wasn’t for the annoying fact our council make a slight paperwork error that sent them back to square one with their criminal prosecution.
Can you imagine the headline? “Social worker receives ASBO for inflicting cruelty to babies.” The Daily Mail would be in their element. I may pass on my story for comment later.
We had been living in our brand new home as an engaged couple for a matter of weeks when the trouble first started. The family next door – a widow and two adult children in their late 20s – first made their presence known with a party that started at 2am and went on until 9am. The music was so loud the floors of our five bedroomed Victorian house shook to the foundations. It was Christmas so we wrote it off at first but soon things escalated:
•All night parties were held every weekend or fortnight for a constant six years.
•Party guests with amps, speakers and musical instruments regularly performed “live” throughout the night.
•Police and the council’s Environmental Health team were called to witness regularly.
•Vans delivered drugs to the house regularly.
•Party guests hurled abuse at us from the garden next door.
•Party guests hurled abuse at the council officers attending each disturbance.
•Party guests knocked on our door and intruded into our home.
•Once my babies were born, doors were slammed and shouts were made deliberately to wake them up. Distressing my babies became a game for them.
•My second son’s first night home from hospital saw him surrounded by police and council officials as his tiny body shook with the noise from next door.
•My toddlers were terrified by the screaming, shouting and fighting that regularly invaded their sleep. We had to co-sleep with the light on to comfort them.
•Bricks were hurled through windows and doors were hammered into the small hours by the mother’s various pick-ups from “Gutterball” (the local nightclub nicknamed for people of a certain age scouting for cheap sex).
•The son was arrested in the street and imprisoned following a drink/drugs fuelled tirade with the police. (I must admit some pleasure at seeing him cry for his mum whilst a policeman held him down in the road. He was escorted to his cell without one of his shoes).
•The daughter had her music equipment removed from the house and confiscated following one horrific assault on my children’s sleep.
•The mother rang the council crying and begging for one last chance after notification of being taken to court arrived on her doorstep. She knew a social worker with an ASBO for deliberately distressing children would never work in the profession again.
•They finally quietened down after being issued a notice saying they weren’t allowed to make any noise whatsoever after 9pm.
This is a catalogue of vile behaviour from people with a long history of drug and drink abuse. A family who lost their father due to his addiction. A family obsessed by their own pleasures. A family who did not think once about the three tiny babies/children living next door.
The last couple of years preceding the call at my door on that Wednesday morning were thankfully quieter. The useless self-loathing son left home. The mother (or the oldest swinger in town as we jokingly labelled her) left the country with one man, then another. The daughter married and continued to live in the house knowing that one single further disturbance would result in criminal action. The daughter worked for local TV. Her husband took photos for our local paper. We dared to hope they were more responsible than the revolting mother/son we were now free from. Sadly, they weren’t.
The malicious complaint was made the exact same day this “upstanding couple” (to everyone who doesn’t know the criminal/drug taking history) left the mother’s property and rented it out.
I can’t commend the social worker who visited us that day enough. She told me she knew the report was malicious the second it landed on her desk. Her manager had agreed. The wording used was ridiculous and we laughed at it together during our one-and-only visit – alluding to inappropriate singing, shouting and children who always cried and never laughed. My children’s headmaster and nursery manager were naturally quick to respond (after I asked them) that my children are among the happiest, most confident and best-adjusted in the school/nursery. They had less than zero concerns for their welfare. I didn’t doubt for one second they’d say anything else. So why was I feeling so violated by this despicable family?
Sadly when things like this happen to us there is no recourse. Even though my family, social services and even the school knew my neighbours and knew the kind of people they were, we didn’t have conclusive evidence. We couldn’t press charges. The social worker assured me that my neighbour wouldn’t be re-employed by SS, which I take solace from. Even without this incident, they had been glad to get rid of her and she has quite the reputation by all accounts. Neither of us could believe they had been so astronomically stupid as to do something so “anonymously” obvious.
After a blissful few years with the property next door rented out to lovely people, last week the mother returned, smoking cigarettes on the doorstep and sleeping in yesterday’s clothes until noon. She is a grandmother now. Ironically we’ve never heard the children laugh (only cry) and I can’t help wondering if the years of familial drug abuse is to blame.
I have been given the three children’s names and DOB’s by mutual friends who are also concerned. I worry that it will look retaliatory if I raise my worries about the parents/grandmother’s drug use. I don’t have any evidence – just a gut feeling through knowing this family for so long that they have a long history of not caring about children. What would you do? At the moment I’m just staying vigilant and praying that they don’t give me cause to question the safety of those three poor kids.
I'd stay vigilant, but I'd also ring at the first in lung anything is wrong. Child safety outweighs how it'll appear to be retaliation
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