do i take this seriously?

Anna - posted on 09/13/2010 ( 9 moms have responded )

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some may know my story so far but for those who dont
:- been with hubby for almost 4yrs. he has 9yr old daughter from previous relationship.
we have 3yr old together. SD told me about innappropriate behaviour towards her by a member of the family. it went to court. no one seemed to take the allegation seriously and she remained with BM. BM and her family harrassed me and i moved away from BM and hubby after a member of BMs family hurt my 2yr old in the street.

hubby and i are trying again but decided to cut contact with SD because during court proceedings she said she didnt want to see us.

8months on and we have irregular contact with SD and she keeps saying that her step dad says to her
"if you dont behave im going to rip your head off!" the latest threat being "i really want to pick you up and throw you through a window!"
shes desperate to live with us but hubby doesnt have parental responsibility nor the money to get it.
my predicament being if we notify the authorities, BM will stop us from seeing SD and no one will take this serious and its all been for nothing. BMs boyfriend has a history of violence but we werent aware of this because social services advised BM not to tell anyone when it went to court last time. thats why im afraid of no one taking this seriously.

when i moved away i was a broken woman, now im happy and settled with my family. i really dont want to go through all that s**t again.
i know im being selfish but has anyone got any thoughts?

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9 Comments

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Irene - posted on 09/14/2010

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Do the right thing. Obviously your conscience wants you to help this child. Maybe a teacher or adviser can intervene or report this to social services. If something should happen to this child, it will be too late. When we remarry someone with children, they become a part of our life for better or worse.

Brie - posted on 09/14/2010

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talk to someone different in the childrens services dept. if visitation is set then she can be held in contempt of court if she doesnt allow you guys to see your SD... take her for a medical exam if necessary if anything sexual happened and if you notice marks or bruises on her take pictures to document them and take them to court as well as whatever they dids to your child... DO NOT IGNORE IT!!! If you take it before a judge and it is thrown out like a joke keep pursuing it and as far as the case worker that told BM to keep that stuff hush hush you guys should file suit on her... you can also use the jail record of BM's boyfriend against them as well!!!

Anna - posted on 09/14/2010

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@ heidi; i did tell the authorities and the school (BMs 12yr old BD did it) and in the end i had to withdraw my statement because BMs solicitor threatened hubby with a restraining order. BM moved 5mins away from us and in order to get in to our local town we had to cross her path which meant she would make up lies about seeing him. i know it sounds stupid but when ever i went shopping i ended up walking around with a video recorder on in my bag for fear of being accused of something. it was that bad!



thank you all. there isnt a visitation order in place.

BM has withdrawn contact with SD already and the reason we dont want to get authorities involved is because there will be more investigations and SD wont be able to take the stress. we suggested to her to speak to a teacher if she feels scared but shes afraid the teacher will tell her mum.

hubby doesnt like the look or sound of BM but for the past 2 days ive convinced him to speak to her personally to see whats going on. she hasnt responded to any of his calls or texts. we are worried, we dont know the step dad very well, we dont think he would hurt her but then we didnt expect him to say things like this.

BM emotionally black mails SD and if we went to the authorities SD might refuse to see us again.

social services have failed us miserably, all they will do is visit for a couple months and close the file. and if we dont have contact with SD there isnt anyone else she feels safe talking to.

Deanna - posted on 09/13/2010

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whatever u do u have to protect your child. true or false allegation's. best of luck!

Catherine - posted on 09/13/2010

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Get free legal help through legal aide. Then, if the threats toward your sd continue I would definitely contact the authorities especially where there is a history of violence on the bm's bf's part. If you don't want to deal with it, don't. Cut off all contact. However, have you thought of how you would feel should things get serious and you didn't take action that could have prevented it?? It is a terrible place you are in.... being in between a rock and a hard place. Use your heart. Talk to your hubby. The answers will come.

Stacey - posted on 09/13/2010

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I wanted to commend you for your strength and courage! Walking away from your home for the safety of your child could not have been an easy thing to do.
We struggled with similar problems, though the abuse issue never went to court. The lawyers consistently told us the same advise Petra gave, "Keep records!" I have several 3-ring binders full of notes, phone calls, conversations, and letters. The more information you have to share with the lawyer, the better.
If you do decide to go a legal route, keep in mind that you must also follow the decree, which sometimes isn't easy.
We were lucky to find a lawyer that let us pay installments until we had enough to go to court. You may be able to find the same thing.
My DH didn't have the power to take the children to a counselor, but he did have the power to take them to the religious center of his choice. You didn't mention going to church, but having a leader of faith that knows you, your family, and SD is a good thing all around, especially if she gets to the point that she feel comfortable enough to share the situation with BM. (I'm not endorsing using the religious system, merely suggesting resources that may already be in place)
Lastly, as long as you are with your husband you will have to go through s**t with BM. My stepchildren are wonderful, crazy, heart-wrenching, blessings! There are times when the negatives heavily outweigh the positives!
I would suggest that you and your husband take some time to share your vision of what could happen, what you expect from each other, what both of your roles will be, and what you need from each other. This will keep a lot of arguments at bay during the high stress times. I didn't do this, and regret it. We worked it out at a couselors office, years later...
You will also need to set your own boundaries concerning BM and her family. Basic things like phone call curfews. You deserve to have control of your home, to maintain the peace that you have found. You can do that and still have SD with you! Be patient with yourself!
Hope this helps! :)

Petra - posted on 09/13/2010

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BTW - I totally understand the need to act selfishly in this kind of situation, but try to view the situation from your SD's perspective. None of this is her fault and her refusal to see you was probably the result of manipulation by her mother... This kid has a chance at a happy, normal life and that chance lies with you.

Petra - posted on 09/13/2010

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Is there an existing contact order in place? Like Heidi said, if there is, she can not withhold access to SD. If there is an order, I would contact social services anonymously and talk about their protocol for investigating a home. If you find out what they will or will not take seriously, you will know when you can expect results for whistle-blowing.

Has SD's step-father ever actually harmed her? Do you know if he poses a real, physical threat to her safety? If he has a history of violence that is already documented, they kind of have to treat the investigation with some seriousness.

The reality is that you guys may have to sit tight until you have the legal footing to do something - keep documenting everything and see if SD can keep you informed of continuing abusive behaviour and talk to legal aid about your odds of having custody revoked from the BM.

If you don't have a contact order, get one - go through legal aid or act on your own behalf in Court. This is a hell of a lot cheaper than going through lawyers and most Courts will not deny a father access to his child, even if he let it go for a few years.

Heidi - posted on 09/13/2010

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First and fore most you have to have happiness in your life. If you are not happy then your family life will be miserable. Take care of your child and love your child and any time you get with your stepdaughter embrace it and enjoy every second.
If a member of your SD family hurt your child you should have told the authorities right away. Dealt with it right away.
If the SD is 9 now and she wants to live with you guys why wouldn't the mom let that happen? I know in the eyes of the court they have to be 12, but at the age of 9, the court should listen to what the little girl has to say.
You are not being selfish, because you are wanting to protect your family, but your SD is part of the family and should do whatever it takes to protect her as well. The BM can't stop you from seeing the SD. If there is a court order in place for visitation and the mom violates that order then she is the one that ends up in trouble not you. The courts take action when there is abuse. They have to by law look into it and have an investigation. I would not stand back and let anything happen to my 2 biological boys or my stepson. I would constantly contact the authorities until something was done.
These are just my thoughts...hopefully it helps.

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