What to do if you suspect child abuse?

#1
Hi guys, I need some advice really. I'm not some attention seeking walt, I'm genuinely concerned about a friend.
I kind of suspect a colleague of mine is abusing his kid, well it may not be him, it maybe his wife or someone else, but over the past year her behaviour has changed quite a bit, she's only 8, but she's recently become withdrawn and hates being left on her own in a room with just males. I've also noticed some bruises, which if I'm honest, don't look accidental.
Question is: What do I do? I'm not sure if it is actually hapenning, or whether my imagination has taken over my instincts and I don't want him to have to be reprimanded or chucked out the army or for everyone to think he's an abuser if I've got it all wrong, so do I ask her about it next time I look after her? Do I contact the NSPCC or civpol, or go to the RMP? Does the RMP even deal with internal child abuse?
I need your advice... and please no stupid answers!
Thanks.
 
#3
Thats a huge dilemma...... however if your suspicions are strong why not ask your friend about it. If the kid is getting battered it really is something for the civpol/NSPCC or social services.
 
#4
That you have posted this concern here is proof that you have genuine concerns for her welfare. Don't for christ's sake let things go too far before doing something. There may well be perfectly sound reasons for her change in demeanour, and also reasonable explanations for her "injuries", but if your gut feeling is that something is just not right, and casual questioning has produced answers that don't fit, go straight away to the police - either Civpol or whoever is responsible in your area of ops.
Write it all down first, what you have noticed, what has changed and try to note dates and times, so that you can produce a coherent rational case.
Have you asked anybody else that knows these folk ( and who you trust) whether they too have any concerns?Do you have children of your own - because that can have a bearing on how you perceive other peoples' children. In any event, do something rather than nothing, too many children have been hurt or worse because people with real suspicions waited too long. Good luck, hope the right result is achieved mate.
 
#5
Ah thats an awful Catch 22 to be in. I would talk to the child ask her a few subtle questions maybe try and see how she reacts to certain things you do. If the child is being abused then it might not be your colleague, perhaps an uncle or dodgy family friend?
 
#6
What Dandy-Angus said, and do it quickly.
 

ADUX

War Hero
#7
Be VERY VERY sure before you set hares running. Don't go to the RMP. If you truly believe the abuse and the kid's in danger then go to the civvy police but also be aware of that if you have 'got it all wrong' as you suggest you might, you'll potentially tear the family apart. His career in the Army should be the least of your concerns.
 
#8
Dont know about the police yet however If your unsure you could note down anything suspicious in a diary and monitor for a further period. You could also gently ask the girl how she got bruised or if shes feeling happy to test the water. You could also gently enquire of one of the parents how she got bruised and compare to diary or girls explanation.

I dont know much about this stuff and can only wish you all the best.
 
#10
Go to army welfare, tell them of your concerns. It is partly what they are there for and will have the skills to deal sensitively (hopefully!) with it .. This way it will also initially be dealt with 'in-house', though if there are concerns it will then go outside.

It will be difficult for you to engineer a conversation with the girl about the situation without her becoming really distressed. By all means ask how she is, about school, etc the stuff you would normally chat about - be prepared though, that she may come out with what is happening. PM me if you need anymore advice...I deal with this type of thing in the day job
 
#11
You could contact childline for advice - they are the guru's on this and will have direct contacts with the relevent people in your area
 
#12
You have to bring in the professionals even for your own peace of mind. If you start asking questions and it is abuse you may give the abuser chance to cover their tracks.
 
#13
This strikes me as a real quandary. Kids go through all sorts of weird phases as they grow up. As you say, there may be nothing to it, and the family could be ruined by a heavy-handed investigation. Equally, you are obviously really concerned, and don't want to do nothing. I do wonder about bruises which "don't look accidental" — how do you know the difference?

My first thought was that rather than raise the topic directly with the girl you might hint to her that if she has any problems, she should confide in a teacher or another adult she really trusts ... or maybe, even, ChildLine?

Could your colleague be an Arrse user, by the way? Just to complicate matters ....
 
#14
ADUX said:
Be VERY VERY sure before you set hares running. Don't go to the RMP. If you truly believe the abuse and the kid's in danger then go to the civvy police but also be aware of that if you have 'got it all wrong' as you suggest you might, you'll potentially tear the family apart. His career in the Army should be the least of your concerns.
I would suggest that social services of even an approach for help via your own GP would be better. But as others have said don't think about it, get the professionals involved. Whatever you do do not go questioning the child yourself.
 
#15
Try CHILDLINE or CRIMESTOPERS that way you don't get involved
 
#16
JWRRC318 said:
Hi guys, I need some advice really. I'm not some attention seeking walt, I'm genuinely concerned about a friend.
I kind of suspect a colleague of mine is abusing his kid, well it may not be him, it maybe his wife or someone else, but over the past year her behaviour has changed quite a bit, she's only 8, but she's recently become withdrawn and hates being left on her own in a room with just males. I've also noticed some bruises, which if I'm honest, don't look accidental.
Question is: What do I do? I'm not sure if it is actually hapenning, or whether my imagination has taken over my instincts and I don't want him to have to be reprimanded or chucked out the army or for everyone to think he's an abuser if I've got it all wrong, so do I ask her about it next time I look after her? Do I contact the NSPCC or civpol, or go to the RMP? Does the RMP even deal with internal child abuse?
I need your advice... and please no stupid answers!
Thanks.
I have put the bit that you should also be keeping an eye on in bold for emphasis.

Look out for the welfare of the child by all means but be very careful how you proceed if you are actually caring for the child at some point. Easiest thing in the world to point the finger at you if something is going on and they need a way out.

You may have already done this but Google says:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/f_child_abuse.pdf

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/HelpAndAdvice/WhatChildAbuse/whatischildabuse_wda36500.html

http://www.kidscape.org.uk/professionals/childabuse.shtml
 
#17
I have rung the NSPCC, but they give quite biased answers tbh, they just told me to go straight to the police if I have any suspiscions and wanted me to give them names and details etc, at which point I put the phone down, she was quite helpful but did say that she'd never had any dealings with the forces so advised me to talk to the welfare services in the army (as some of you have)
Old_Reprobate said:
I do wonder about bruises which "don't look accidental" — how do you know the difference?
Well, I've done a little bit of research into it, to try and convince myself it's all just accidents, but she does have fairly consistant 'NAI', such as bruising on the cheeks, finger marks on the arms, around the ankles etc. She's been into hospital (civillian) at least twice in the past 6 months too, I don't want to pass the buck by any means, but shouldn't they have done something?
I'm really confused whether to confront the girl or her dad, he's a really good mate and I wouldn't want to lose him, or worse wreck his family. I think as some of you have suggested I will go to SSAFA or the welfare dept. Does anyone know if I can go anonymously?
 
#19
If you ring social services you can do it anonymously, let them do the questioning. They will go round and say they have a concern, it theres nowt wrong its NFA.

Do you live in England or are you posted overseas, If in England, PM me if you want your local duty team number.
 
#20
I appreciate that this must be very difficult for you but if you choose to do nothing and you find out your concerns were true, you will kick yourself. If you are in Germany then you can speak with the JRT/CRT and if in the UK then you can speak with either the local Social Services or the NSPCC. All agencies collate any concerns raised on a child so you never know, they already may have had other calls about this child.
It is good practice to speak with the parents but you must always weigh up the safety of the child and you can speak to the agencies without giving your name. You will only be relaying the facts and it certainly seems you have a few already.
If in doubt, remember that in regards to safeguarding children, Doing Nothing Is No Longer An Option.
Good luck, I know it's not easy but the child is that, a child. Your the adult x
 

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