To call social services on a friend?

(98 Posts)
MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 10:44:13

I have been holding off on this for some time, 9 years if I'm really honest. My friend has struggled for years. Three DC at home, recently dispatched her DH because of domestic violence and because he attacked one of the children. Social services involvement and courts.

She has been struggling to cope on her own, if anything the situation for the children has become worse. The children stink, there is no food in the house, they do not have coats, their shoes do not fit, there hair is matted. One child is refusing to go to school and has started smashing the house up. When we visited last week there was old food and rubbish all over the floor in the kitchen, no bin, piles of wet washing, no cloths, no clean dishes, cigarette buts all over the sitting room floor, glass smashed....

She has had her benefits stopped and has about 2,500 rent arrears and yet she is running around with an iphone on which she has run up a bill just short of £500 this month.

She is taking men back to the house, sometimes two in one day for hook ups, spending social services loan on travel to meet men.

The final straw yesterday, she rang in tears threatening to leave her children to move in with some man. She had no food for the Dcs and her money had not come through. I offered to feed the children and offered her the use of our phone/pc to try and sort of TCs. She turned up at 6pm, dressed up with an overnight bag. She left her son aged 11 roaming around the streets whilst she got on a train to meet a "date" in London.

I am very concerned about her and them and I don't want to go behind her back. So do I tell her what I am doing or just ring SS and then back away?

Any opinions?

It sounds to me like you've already made your mind up to call them.

You just don't know if you should tell her.

I'd say don't tell her and that way you can be around to make sure things improve for the family

MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 11:38:38

lisad123everybodydancenow

at the moment dates i think but last week I took her to the job centre. She didn't have the train fare so I took her. She shouted at the lady behind the desk "NO F***ing money, I'll have to put cards out" I assume she meant start selling sex. I didn't ask, I just shuffled her out the building back into the car before anything else happened.

sparrowfart Thu 07-Mar-13 11:39:20

Yes you must. If in any doubt at all, consider what will happen if you don't, if no one does. Please help those children. sad

DeepRedBetty Thu 07-Mar-13 11:39:56

sad What a mess.

Sounds like she has borderline personality disorder. That could really fuck her kids up in 'the long run. Phone ss.

littlewhitebag Thu 07-Mar-13 11:47:16

Call SS and ask to speak to her allocated SW. Pass on the concerns you have noted. Make a list before you call so you don't forget anything. SW are so pressured with heavy case loads that sometimes they don't get round to visiting families very regularly. Or they try to visit but the parents manage to deflect them for a long time. Her SW has perhaps not seen the family in a long time. Also some parents can put on a good front and say all the right things to SW and it takes people like you to point out what is actually going on. If any harm came to the children you would regret it forever so you need to take action today.

Is the 11 year old still unaccounted for and the mum still out, because if so I would call the Police. They have powers to remove children too and will inform social services. The response may be faster.

greenhill Thu 07-Mar-13 11:55:16

Your friend sounds as if she has a lot of problems that she is unwilling / unable to address. The children should not be living like this though. Her social worker needs to know the full picture and you will know the details you can pass on to help your friend and her children.

You sound as if you are very kindly helping her: but unless you are actually living in with them, feeding the children, buying their clothes and untangling their hair to get them to school everyday, your help, however well intentioned is not making it better long term. And I think you are right to consider calling in professional help now.

YANBU, you are thinking of everyone's best interests in this very difficult situation.

MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 11:55:47

MaggieMaggieMaggieMcGill

That is what DP suspects. He works with women who have BPD sad she has suffered terribly so understandable really.

I have just rung SS and I need to ring back at 12.30 to speak to social worker. The lady I spoke to confirmed that the children are known to them. I am sitting here shaking because I feel so anxious.

littlewhitebag

I am going to make a list so I can remember everything. I feel that although they are known the SS who is doshing out the money card and food parcels has got a very partial picture of what is happening.

MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 11:58:20

I don't know if the 11 year old went to school. I can't ring my friend because I am shaking and feel a bit tearful really. She may or may not be back from London. Yesterday she told her son she would see him after school. Those children are going to school with no breakfast, no help, no supervision and not knowing where their mother is. I could ring the school but they would need to know who I am. More risk of school telling friend????

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Thu 07-Mar-13 11:59:05

think of it as calling the ss FOR her, not ON her... as you are doing the right thing for her and her children, as surely she doesnt really want to be doing this kind of damage to her children (and herself?). Sounds dreadful, hope they can do something for them.

TheFallenNinja Thu 07-Mar-13 12:01:33

Definitely. Call them and the police. Time for empathy is over.

SinisterBuggyMonth Thu 07-Mar-13 12:05:07

Yanbu op. Sounds like she definately has mental health problems. the unsanitary conditions they are living in and aggression sounds like my Dad, who has had undiagnosed MH Problems for many years. Had I not had my mum to look after me I could easily have had an upbringing like your friends children.

You sound like a very good friend who goes above and beyond were others would have given up years ago.

Look, stop think about her and your relationship with her. Vulnerable as she is, she's an adult. The 11yr old is a CHILD who as far as you know could have been out on the streets all night. Speak to the school NOW and then call the police.

MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 12:11:02

I would ring school and ask but if DP is right about her mental state, I could bring a whole shower of shit on my own family if she decides I have gone behind her back. I can either do this quietly without fanfare and swear the SS not to involve me or tell friend what I am doing and hope she understands I am doing it to help her. I can't though face having the school let on someone called Mini rang about her son.

SinisterBuggyMonth that sounds terrible for you, I hope you are all OK now.

I would have to agree with DoubleLife

Just after seeing your latest post Mini, can your reporting to SS not be done confidentially? Why would they need to inform your neighbour about who got in contact with them?

Surely there has to be some level of confidentiality involved?

Also, if you speak to the Principal of the school, can you not do that confidentially too and if the school feels it necessary to contact the police, then let them do it.

minouminou Thu 07-Mar-13 12:18:18

This is such a dire situation that loads of people are aware of it, so it could be anyone who's dropped the dime.

You know you have to do this, and I'm sure you will. It's understandable that you're nervous - I'd probably hurl - but just keep running the facts through your mind.

Ionasky Thu 07-Mar-13 12:21:33

fwiw - i wouldn't take the risk of telling her you called ss - you could make things really bad for your family. You're doing the right thing by getting SS more involved - this has likely been going on for some time, so don't feel as though if SS don't take action this minute you have to risk your family. You've already done what you can safely do.

targaryen24 Thu 07-Mar-13 12:25:59

SS can't tell her if you've asked not to be identified as the informer etc.
And you can always ask the SS to call the school (and say it's urgent) if you don't want to risk outing yourself that way either.

MiniTheMinx Thu 07-Mar-13 12:27:31

I'm trying not to cry at the moment. I don't know why? I am ringing them back in a few minutes. I have made a bullet point list.

She may guess if the level of detail relayed by social workers is near to the actual facts. She knows i used to work for SS, so that won't help. I used to work in children's services which is another reason why I have put this off and why she asks me for help. If I am honest she probably expects me to contact them at some point but it doesn't stop me feeling so disloyal. I just can't help her enough, everything i do is not enough for those children.

I can't contact the father, he is a thug and not allowed contact. She has no family either.

targaryen24 Thu 07-Mar-13 12:30:20

Of course you're emotional! She's a friend & doing what needs to be done isn't always easy thanks

You are doing the right thing though. She can't be certain it was you and those poor kids need it. She may get the help she needs to by the sounds of it.

minouminou Thu 07-Mar-13 12:33:00

Essentially, Mini, she's a powerless, rather tragic figure.
What can she do to you even if she finds out? Is there anything in particular you're worried about?

Xiaoxiong Thu 07-Mar-13 12:41:41

Mini if she knows you used to work for SS she may actually be hoping you do something on her behalf wrt to contacting them. I wouldn't say anything to her at all, just tell them absolutely everything you know and even the stuff you merely suspect. I'd probably call the school too to try and make sure the maximum number of people with the power to do something are looking out for those kids.

I think you're doing absolutely the right thing. What a sad situation all round and you're a good friend to her and her family, even if she doesn't or can't appreciate it right now for whatever reason thanks

BlahBlahBlahhh Thu 07-Mar-13 12:42:22

Just read your post and wanted to say, have no doubt, you are 100% doing the right thing. I wish there were more people like you who have the compassion and mindfulness to see what is going on around them and not just close their eyes to it. It's a very sad situation but just remember you are doing the best for everyone involved, kids and mum.

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