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Old 09-14-2013, 01:59 AM
 
1,035 posts, read 1,642,430 times
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I have no idea if this is the right forum but I saw another thread in here about neighbors so maybe it can fit. I moved into a place over the winter. Noticed immediately a ruckus every weekday morning with a neighbor and her daughter. The ruckus escalated from screaming like a maniac at the girl until she cried to loud bangs, crashes, running and thumps and the girl shrieking as if she was being attacked.

This was my first time dealing with this kind of thing. I was afraid to go to the board because everyone lived there for years, people were buddy buddy with the woman, and I knew I wasn't the only one who heard it. Being the new person, I didn't want to rock the boat and have them (or her) come after me in some way if they were all "on her side".

I also wasn't sure if I had enough evidence to call the cops because I never actually saw the girl at all. And it would be over so quickly and they'd be gone that I felt like if I called them, by the time they got there, there'd be no sign of them or what happened and I didn't want them to think I was just crying wolf and end up deterring them from coming back again.

So my next thought was calling CPS. I read through their website because I didn't know anything about it and wanted to make sure I was in the right to report. Based on what it said, I had more than enough evidence for them to investigate. I allowed this to go on without saying anything for a month I think and realized I didn't want to be one of those people who hears things and doesn't do anything about it so I went ahead and called CPS.

Unfortunately, they said I didn't have enough evidence for them to look into it because I never saw the girl with my own eyes and never saw the woman attack her with my own eyes. I was pretty discouraged at that point and ended up mentioning it to someone in management/landlord. I didn't want to give the woman grounds to say I was slandering her if everyone covered for her so all I said was just that there's a lot of noise and thumping going on just to gauge their reaction and got no response.

I didn't hear anything for a few weeks (didn't even see the woman's car) and thought maybe someone DID address it after all. But then it started up again and I realized they must have just gone somewhere or something. I still struggle with calling the cops because of the wait time for them to show and me being afraid they'd find nothing and I'd get labeled a nutty nosy new neighbor and be ignored each time I tried to get them to come.

And the CPS thing discouraged me enough to wonder, what if everyone just says the same thing, well, you didn't see it happen so you can't go around calling the cops on people or there's no report to be filed, etc. I felt like I would have been more confident if I had visual proof because this is just all new to me and I take bringing the law in seriously.

Spring came and the abuse stopped. I know abusers don't just stop abusing so I thought they were probably gone again or that there wasn't really an issue because school was out and the girl didn't have to get up for it (since that's what seemed to trigger the fights). Sure enough my suspicions were confirmed when I noticed I'd see the woman but not the girl. I was worried that she did something to her but didn't want to jump to conclusions.

Now it's fall again and the second school started, I hear the girl is back and the shouting has started up again though not like before. I just have a feeling it's going to escalate so I promised myself that this time, when I hear something I think could pass to the cops as child abuse, I'm going to call them no matter what happens because I don't want to do nothing anymore and I don't want the girl to suffer.

Some people I asked for advice said to leave it alone because what if they put the girl in the system, she'd have it worse than she does now. Maybe maybe not but I know reporting is the right thing to do. I just want some advice, should I wait for an incident or should I just report now? Anyone have experience with this sort of thing and what the process was like?

I want to help the girl but also want to know if I'm setting myself up for a legal battle I can't afford. I'm just not sure how this works because I come from a circle of goodie-goodies so none of us have had any reason to deal with the law until this kind of encounter.

p.s. Sorry for spamming the forum, I was waiting up late for something and ended up killing time by answering everything for no reason
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Old 09-14-2013, 04:32 AM
 
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You have no proof that the child is being physically abused. The mother could simply be one of those high strung screamer types who goes a little overboard on a dawdling child in the morning.

Stay out of it unless you have more proof or this screaming/crying behaviour happens frequently.

There is a fine line between being concerned and butting your nose in where it doesnt belong.
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Old 09-14-2013, 05:18 AM
 
12,238 posts, read 13,461,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30to66at55 View Post
You have no proof that the child is being physically abused. The mother could simply be one of those high strung screamer types who goes a little overboard on a dawdling child in the morning.

Stay out of it unless you have more proof or this screaming/crying behaviour happens frequently.

There is a fine line between being concerned and butting your nose in where it doesnt belong.
Thank you!!

Exactly what I was thinking.

Know someone that wanted to make a complaint with no basis. Later claiming the saw and heard.... I'm like, "No you didn't! I was standing right there with you!"
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Old 09-14-2013, 09:50 AM
 
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Thanks so much! This is what I was concerned about, how people (importantly the police) would regard it because I didn't see it with my own eyes. As me just butting in and thinking plain old yelling is abuse.

I didn't go into detail because I didn't want to make the post much longer but there's a difference between someone just screaming and the sounds of actual physical abuse (e.g. the times during the terrible thumping and scuffling noises when the child has screamed "Stop, you're hurting me!!!" and the woman has screamed, "Because you won't listen" and BOOM like a body slamming on the floor then the girl shrieking).

It's clear to me and friends I've described each incident to and exactly what was said by the woman and child in detail during that she's being abused but CPS's reaction that if I didn't see it, it didn't happen made me figure it doesn't really matter and my concern was confirmed with the replies here. If I don't have any physical proof, no one here to back it up (and I don't think it's legal for me to record the audio even though it's so loud it's all as clear as day as if it's happening in my room), I'll just be seen as someone who doesn't mind their own business or is making things up.

Ah well. I'll just ignore it and we'll see what happens. Btw, after calling CPS, my schedule changed a bit so I did finally start seeing the girl. It was cold weather so she was always covered up but she'd be getting on a bus when I'd leave for work and then the woman would storm out and zip off in her car which explained why they'd always be gone so quickly. Girl is about 7 or 8. A shame. But thanks for the advice, it definitely helped!
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:00 AM
 
Location: in my mind
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Reports to CPS such as yours would be treated as "information only" reports. This means, based on the information obtained, CPS does not feel there is enough information to warrant an actual investigation, but the information is logged into the system.

I think you did the right thing by calling your concerns in to CPS. You did not do this based on anything but actual concern for the child, and that is what CPS is there for. If this child is NOT being abused, then this information will just sit there and eventually fade away into history, as it is not relevant to this child and family. And that will be great. If the child is being abused though, your report will be part of a trail of documentation that may eventually help CPS build a case that will cause them to intervene in this family.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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Thanks so much Kitten! That helps and that's all I can hope for.
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Old 09-14-2013, 10:53 AM
 
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My girlfriend got new neighbors a few years ago. They had two young sons, about 8 to 10 years old. They were nice kids, aleays said hello, and wre very polite and friendly. We would have to hear the mother yelling at them...get in the f,ing house, imgoing to beat your f,ing butt, your a stupid f,ing jerk...on and on. The father was a nice guy but quiet and always spoke to his sons nicely.

Well, the sons are in their teens now. My girlfriend and I are sitting outside and the boys were in the yard. They still wave and say hi. The mother pokes her head out of the door and says "come in for dinner". Without missing a beat, one of the boys turns around and says "go F yourself".

You reap what you sow.

And all I thought was...if I said that to my mother..

And, regarding this topic, even as vile as that mother was there still wouldnt be a cause to callCPS...never heard her beating them. But she is the one now who is payong the price for ruining two nice boys.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:25 AM
 
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You've heard the girl scream that she's being hurt, and the mom indirectly admit to hurting her, and have reported this to CPS and they can't do anything about it??? I would keep reporting it until they do something, of course you can't see it happen, you don't go inside your neighbor's house to watch them beat their child. What more proof could you possibly get?
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:11 PM
 
Location: California
4,532 posts, read 5,435,361 times
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Is there a way to notify the school so they can keep on eye on the girl?

That mother sounds like my "mother", so I can tell you that as a child I was not able to verbalize what was going on with the belts and hands. As time wore on, I heard that court system was "interested" but no one did anything to help my brother and me. I left home when I was 17 and never looked back, however, I wonder how different I would be today if my early life wasn't run by fear.
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Old 09-14-2013, 12:13 PM
 
1,193 posts, read 1,528,333 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KittenSparkles View Post
Reports to CPS such as yours would be treated as "information only" reports. This means, based on the information obtained, CPS does not feel there is enough information to warrant an actual investigation, but the information is logged into the system.

I think you did the right thing by calling your concerns in to CPS. You did not do this based on anything but actual concern for the child, and that is what CPS is there for. If this child is NOT being abused, then this information will just sit there and eventually fade away into history, as it is not relevant to this child and family. And that will be great. If the child is being abused though, your report will be part of a trail of documentation that may eventually help CPS build a case that will cause them to intervene in this family.
Correct. In suspected cases of abuse it is ALWAYS better to call and say something, even if it turns out to be nothing (and in your case, I highly doubt it's "nothing" but that's beside the point.) As KittenSparkles said, if it turns out to be nothing and they never receive another report, it just sits there. However, if another person, a relative, a teacher, a camp counselor, later makes another "maybe, maybe not" report, then suddenly it's much more clear to CPS that there very well could be abuse because two independent parties noticed something weird. If you hadn't reported it and something fishy happened later, it would get the same treatment. So I disagree with those saying just don't do anything.

The worst possible thing you could do in cases where you're getting that funny feeling in your gut and you have good reason to suspect something bad may be happening is to do nothing. A child who cannot speak up for themselves (and many young, abused children can't) deserves adults who will raise a flag, not just ignore it and pretend not to hear anything.
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