An outsider looking in

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An outsider looking in

Postby WonderWoman » 25 Nov 2009, 18:43

Im friends with my exhusbands sister, we're similar age and i adore her kids. Lately shes called off lunch with me and a couple of nights out with mutual girlfriends. Her husbands away a lot and rumors bandied about that shes seeing someone. Thing is, her husands got a viscious temper and the last time i met her she had a split lip & bruisd wrists. Imworried shes in danger but every time i try to talk to her she makes excuses. How do I Help?
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby WonderWoman » 26 Nov 2009, 16:10

I guess I shouldnt say anything.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 30 Nov 2009, 20:48

Stay out of it. The rumours may not be true, and if her husband's away a lot, she probably didn't sustain her injuries from him. Just tell her that you're there if she ever fancies a night out or a chat.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 30 Nov 2009, 21:24

if she is seeing someone else I would stay out of it, however if you suspect domestic vilonce then perhaps you could give her numbers of womens aids centres , helplines. Domestic violence should never ever be ignored as it can be fatal. Besides you need to think of the impact on the kids of possibly seeing their parents fight. Also if he does loose his temper with his wife he may also loose it with the children.
Too often women are afraid to leave but you need to kindly remind her of her children and offer constant support
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby mamie » 01 Dec 2009, 06:38

I'd probably stay out of it - except, to tell her that if she ever needs refuge, that you are there for her, anytime.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 01 Dec 2009, 19:27

Yes, same as what I was saying mamie. If this person's a good friend and has something which she wants to say, she'll say it. It's no good jumpiong to conclusions. WW's close to her ex. sister-in-law, so she should be able to tell if the children are happy - or even ask how the woman managed to sustain her bruises. Then I think that's the time to say that she'd always be there if her sil wanted to chat.
If I'd been posting about what I'm going to tell you, many folk would've probably got the wrong idea.
A friend of mine once came round to my house and had the most hideous bruises up her arms - fingermarks to boot. Her husband's known to have a bad temper, but never laid a finger on anyone. However......
The truth of the matter was, that my friend'd skidded on another friend's wet floor. She fell into a small space between a waste bin and the cooker, and couldn't get up. The friend's husband grabbed her arms and heaved her out - and thus the bruising occured. Anyone not knowing the truth could've easily come to a different conclusion.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 01 Dec 2009, 20:04

yes true Ice but still I do not believe domestic violence is an area we should remain out of. The nature of domestic violence is that it is controlling of women who become afraid to leave and instead defend, make excuses for or deny their partners actions. It is precisely because it is largely undetected that gives men a licence to continue. Many partners become experts at covering up the bruises and effects. Sure there will always be times when bruising occurs and it is not domestic violence. Wouldnt you prefer to have bothered to inquire or support than to find out later the woman was beaten to pulp.

As for the children they too become experts at hiding parental disharmony, They go on to develop coping mechanisms to help them deal with the situation which they display in public. It is also likely they too are at risk of been beaten in some cases. How often have situations of abuse emerged for neighbours, family and friends say we never knew, or more often we thought something was up but were never sure they were such nice people, And yes lives can be ruined when people are accused in the wrong but isnt it better to be safe than sorry
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 02 Dec 2009, 19:32

I DO hear what you're saying pink, and I agree with what you've said, but there's offering to help - and there's interfering.
If we all rang for Social Services every time we heard a couple argue, a child cry, saw a bruise on a woman's arm...we'd be living in a very suspicious world.
These crimes against women DO go on. I've been to a womens refuge and listened to some of the harrowing stories, but even though more of it goes on than we realise, it's still a minority thing - although just ONE abused partner is one too many.
If we start suspecting everyone of harming their children or their partners, we're on a slippery route, because the majority don't.
I believe that we have to use caution where we believe that something untoward may be going on, because it may NOT be the case at all.
What we need to do is make sure that women - and men - know of the help that's available to them, and to educate them about looking for warning signs.
I have friends who're social workers, and I have to say that they're all indoctrinated by the text book method, and tend to be suspicious of everyone, so how come that the profession's been getting it very wrong just lately? They seem to be either over-zealous, or extremely inadequate (as in the case of Baby P), whereas perhaps they should be looking more closely at folk in known "risk" groups and stop hounding those who're actually doing nothing wrong. Some of these workers have no children of their own - and some aren't even in a relationship. Who are they to judge what an individual should, or shouldn't put up with or do?
Teaching women to recognise violence should be mandatory in the classroom, along with confidence courses, and the areas of help should be made readily available by way of advertisements, walk-in centres and free phone calls to advice lines.
In the main, I think folk within the care prefession, such as yourself, do a very good job, but it's all too easy to judge.
I know a single parent who rang Social Services and asked if there were any holiday camps which her child could attend during the summer holidays. Unfortunately, she told them that she needed a break, because her hyper child was stressing her out. That was the start of being visited by these people, who asked her so many questions that she got flustered. I think she's seen as needing help, because she was also on anti-depressants for an unrelated reason when they first spoke to her. Now she can't get rid of them, and their visits cause her more anxiety than ever. She feels that she has to take their advice, because if not, she'll be deemed as a bad mother, whereas in fact, she's a very good one.
I know this isn't the same as violence towards women and children, but it illustrates that "meddling" can be more harmful than beneficial.
As you say, letting someone know about help that IS available is all well and good, but if we went round telling this to everyone who ever raised their voice or even said something which may be deemed as out of order, we'd not only offend a good few many people, but lose our friends into the bargain! I think we need to stay vigilant, yet not be over-bearing in our desire to help out.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 02 Dec 2009, 20:44

i respect your views but sadly Ice child abuse is more widespread than we realize at a minimum one in ten children will experience some form of child abuse at some time. Its not that i am suggesting ringing SS at every whim believe me we are too under resourced to respond to every call. Moreover family and friends are better equipped to offer support and help in these situations. Say if a relative suspects child abuse or domestic violence, its more appropriate for relatives to step in and care for children than SS

.I am sorry but it is a myth that you need to have children to understand the process of parenting or make a true social worker i do not believe this we all know what constitutes appropriate parenting. Social work like every profession is not fool proof and too quickly we get all of the blame and none of the credit. Too often the media is rife with times the system fails yet do we ever see reports of the many success cases. There should never be a time when system failure results in the death of a child never and thankfully in Ireland we have a more regulated system.

What i do know is that neighbours and society are too quick to point the finger of blame for system failure at the door of social workers asking why they hadn't acted. These can also be the very people that have had ongoing suspicions about the care of a child and never reported it until it was too late. So you see it is easy for society to blame social workers than take a look at their own in actions
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby meadow » 02 Dec 2009, 21:09

my sister got her ass beat for 10 years. no one in our family did shit. i had to move away b/c i knew it and confronted her and she bald-faced lied to my family. so i left.

call a hotline and ask advice. seek a professional, get some referral names/numbers. tell her to her face that you care, you are worried and you cannot in good conscience stand around and wait for her to get beat.

then walk away. she's the only one that can make that decision in the end. she won't do it until something catastrophic happens, i'm sure. but let her know that you'll be there when she does and you'll support her. but you aren't going to just stand around and act like what is up is not the deal.

but then again, i'm very confrontational. i have ZERO fear about getting in a man's face, telling him off and then beating HIS ASS. i chased a BFFs b/f through a parking lot with a Louisville Slugger (baseball bat) because he attacked her while pregnant. i wasn't about to wait around for no *f&%$g* cop.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 03 Dec 2009, 00:00

I don't know where these stats are retrieved from pink. To say that 1 in 10 children will experience some abuse seems pretty much like guesswork. How many thousands of people do they study to find this out?? And what constitutes child abuse in the eyes of those who state this?
Of course we all know the usual ones - physical sexual or violent attacks, and the mental ones which can frighten or make a child feel bad, but out of the dozens and dozens of people that I know, only one of them falls into this category, so the 1 in 10 means nothing to me. It seems somewhat exagerated.
As for social workers, I admire their work in the main, and they can do a fine job. Perhaps we don't hear enough about the GOOD that they do, although I'm not a great believer in outsiders interfering. If it's for a valid reason, then fair enough, but all too often these days, in the UK we hear about children being taken away from their parents for all the wrong reasons, yet those who NEED to be removed from a bad environment never seem to be, and time and time again, we read about poor little mites being subjected to the most horrific abuse, often ending in their death. The people responsible for looking after them have usually been watched by SS anyway, yet they've failed to act, repeatedly. This is why people are blaming them, because many folk DO report stuff, but it goes unheeded. Perhaps some of this is through lack of resources, but where reports come in, and social workers pay a visit, even THEY can be lulled into a false sense of things being alright - as the Baby P case showed.
I agree with you that family, friends and associates of these children at risk often fail to report any abuse that they see or suspect. In some cases though, even the nearest and dearest've been duped as well and haven't realised until it's too late. The others probably have things of their own to hide, but either way it's appalling.
I don't say that social workers without children don't understand the ethics of good parenting, or how to do their job, but it's a fact that unless you've been in the situation of having a child yourself, you can only ASSUME that you'd respond in a certain way to a given situation. In reality, your mind quickly changes once you become a parent yourself, and all the practices which you promised you'd put into motion often don't work or even materialise.
You can liken this to a midwife who has no children of her own. She may've delivered a hundred babies and know the ins and outs of watching a birth, but if she hasn't actually done it, she can only surmise the feelings and advise by what she's learnt and seen. It doesn't make this person useless, but neither does it make them an expert. A woman's body is individual to herself, and nature tells you how to react at any given time during the process. My mother, who produced 6 children and was pregnant 8 times used to tell the younger midwives what to do! She was having none of the fancy stuff, and just had us all in the way she knew how. She breathed in the way which was comfortable for her, and she pushed when she had no choice! It's very difficult to go against what the contractions'll carry on doing anyway!
To sum up how I feel, meadow got it right in that an abused woman has to be armed with all the info to help her, but at the end of the day, it's only her who can do something about it, so as I said at first, information's vital.
Abuse of children is intolerable to me, and where someone has very good reason to suspect it's going on, or KNOWS that it is, then yes, they should take a step to help or call some authority who can, but I still hold by the thought that surmising a situation without positive proof can cause more damage than a little.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 03 Dec 2009, 21:38

sadly yes Ice the statistic are one in ten hard to believe i know bit they are based on records of reports to social work departments. Peopelwould be amazed at the reports we get in on a daily basis accounting various forms of abuse, physical , emotional, sexual and neglect. The definitions are laid out in the Child abuse guidelines which all social workers work from. The statistics only account for what is reported not what goes unreported . In one month alon ein my dept we had 285 reports of child abuse.

Yes the media is always full of stories of system failure by social workers saying they didnt act etc. We are heavily underresourced and so we dont get to monitor situations as closely as we may need to some of the time. times when we do monitor it can be hard to get concrete evidence of abuse. It is only in extreme circumstances children are removed and clear proof is needeed of the level of risk. The problem with media reports is that it only states the views of clients of social workers or neighboiurs and so is one sided we are not allowed to comment. I have read media reports of cases i work with and to say there were large omissions of the truth is an underestimation.

Too often neighbours dont report abuse believing we already know. Yes i accept it can be hard to get in contct with the overstretched department of child services , however if people dont report then we may never know until its too late. Equally there is an onus on all families to intervene if they see a relative mistreat achild
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 04 Dec 2009, 16:46

Yes.
However, since I gave my opinion on here, another poor little mite's died. Social Services were contacted with various concerns, and did nothing.
As I said beforehand, I'm NOT decrying some of the very good work carried out by dedicated workers, and yes, you've made some good points in defence of the system.
I agree that everyone should be made aware of the avenues of help open to them, and that if friends and relatives have genuine reason to suspect that something's amiss, then make sure that, as in WW's sister-in-law's case, the woman knows that there's help and support out there for her.
I just think that you have to take a step back and consider your actions sometimes. There's the case for being vigilant and helpful and another for being a busy-body. If people called the police and other professionals everytime a baby cried, a voice was raised, a woman sported a bruise - I imagine that'd mean everyone in the country being visited at least half a dozen times.
WonderWoman posed a question, and I think we all agree that good friends and close relatives should feel able to discuss their worries with the person concerned, but no, I think it's impractical and being paranoid to immediately jump to the conclusion that a woman's being beaten if she shows signs of bruising or of being timid in front of her partner.
I bet someone I know rues the day she opened her mouth to another person we vaguely knew. This girl'd been moaning about her boyfriend becoming stroppy and moody, and then turned up for a night out, her arm showing signs of some deep purple bruising. My friend immediately jumped to conclusions when this person excused them by saying they'd just "appeared".
"I can imagine what's been happening!" said my friend, "and I'm sorry, but you MUST leave your boyfriend if this's what's happening..."
The girl was very offended and upset. "My boyfriend didn't do this!" she snapped. "It just happens - I have leukaemia, so mind your own business will you!" That was the last time she spoke, leaving my friend feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable, so no, I think you have to weigh these situations up very carefully before surmising anything.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 05 Dec 2009, 14:11

[img]However,%20since%20I%20gave%20my%20opinion%20on%20here,%20another%20poor%20little%20mite's%20died.%20Social%20Services%20were%20contacted%20with%20various%20concerns,%20and%20did%20nothing.[/img]

nobody said social services were fool proof as i said we are under resourced and it is not our fault children die. Where was society like family members neighbours etc. What did they do to help this child and prevent its death??? ?How do we know social services did nothing?? Media reports are quick to berate social services but ss can not comment on individual cases,

yes you have to weigh up all situations but its best to give people information and advice rather than say nothing. At least they will know you care and you can do this without being over zealous or interfering
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 06 Dec 2009, 23:01

Yes. As I said above, people need to be aware of what help's open to them.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby WonderWoman » 07 Dec 2009, 16:01

Im much obliged to all who have replied. I managed to speak to her in private. She admitted that her and her husband are having problems. She never went into detail other than to say they had a bit of a skirmish over text messages on her mobile phone. She says shes not havin an affair and was embarassd that I brokered the subject.. She says that she punched him in anger and the bruises are frm him holding her wrists and the split lip frm trying to struggle free, she hit his chin with hers apparently. Shes quite a forcefull person, gobby and both drink to excess but Ive never known her to be violent. I put it to her that her reaction seemed out of character and she was very defensive citing her privacy was being invaded.
it all seems a bit suspect to me NEVERTHELESS i'm glad I spoke to her and have given her a list of numbers. Im still a bit worried but realize that I cant force the issue.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 07 Dec 2009, 18:54

you did the right thing WW abuse in any form is a societal problem taht requires a societal response. The best you can do is casually ask from time to time how things are for her. Also you need to be mindful of the children. Whilst they may not have endured any physical abuse the emotional impact of living in such and environment is equally harmful
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby Ice.Maiden » 26 Jan 2010, 13:18

Yes, certainly keep an eye out for her. Since last posting, I have to now agree with pink about the huge amount of abuse that goes off. I never realised it was so common-place.
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pilvikki » 29 Jan 2010, 02:34


it's bad and it doesn't matter what 'species' we speak of....
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Re: An outsider looking in

Postby pinky » 01 Feb 2010, 19:29

sadly it is widespread and spans every country , race and class. no society is untouched by it. Sure we dont like to think the worse of people but for far too long people didnt accept the severity of child abuse as for many it is hard to comprehend such henious acts
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