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  • Stupid Neighbours

    Despite the subject of this website, what a superb site. Why didn’t I see it before? I’ve read through many of the stories and I’d like to have time to read them all. Clearly many of you suffer much more than anything I’ve gone through, so I hope to add as much as I can.



    I’ll tell you our story which has been going on for three years now. I should point out that my neighbour, IMO, is not the brightest cookie on the planet.



    It’s a long post so probably better to print off and read at your leisure.



    To present the whole story my neighbours, without any consultation with myself, put in a planning application for an extension to their property which is the other half of the two semi-detached dwellings. The houses share a party wall and any loud noises or disturbances from next door are audible through the shared wall. I received the application notice through the post from the local Council and examined the plans in my local library. For several reasons I objected to the development and told him and his wife that I would be objecting to the development but this wasn't meant personally. I was told by them then that they understood I had to look after my own interests and so I thought that would be the end of the matter so far as any potential falling out was concerned. This was in early 2000. When I came home one evening shortly after I did attempt to speak to my neighbour when I saw him in his garage. I recall the conversation and he said that he did not have anything to say to me. When I asked why, he said I knew the reason why. I saw no further reason to continue the conversation and walked off.



    The council turned down the application in April 2000. Shortly thereafter my neighbours began to play music very loud on their patio when we were outside. I then decided to try to record these incidences with a tape recorder in case the situation continued.



    The next communication I had with my neighbour was in a letter written in a confrontational style dated May 2000 about some “ivy” from my garage growing onto his garage and attacking the brickwork. This letter contains the accusation that we “do not like to behave like good neighbours and discuss things before placing it in the hands of the authorities” meaning my wife and I. It was obvious from the letter that he made this allegation on the basis of my objecting to his extension. How this makes us bad neighbours, I am not sure. I also overheard him in the garden speaking to neighbours that he does not consider us to be good neighbours. From the volume of his tone, it was clear that he intended us to overhear this. I found this statement particularly reprehensible and false and he clearly wasn’t aware of its implications.



    I cleared away the ivy. On the afternoon of the next Sunday, I was in the garden reading. I had my tape recorder present and switched on. My neighbour then leaned over the garden fence and said that he did not think that what I had done was sufficient. He made an insult to me to which I replied that there was no need to resort to these. He made a thinly veiled threat of violence by saying, “You'll get more than that if you're not careful”. After a discussion relating to the ivy and from what I recall, he said “I will get you, but don't worry I'll do it legally.” To which I sarcastically replied, “I'm terrified”. He then replied “I'm sure you are, you ought to be. You started it, I'll finish it, I told you that before”. He later made more comments over the fence about the extension and that he blamed me for it being turned down but unfortunately I do not have these on tape. The majority of this conversation is still on tape. I re-inspected the ivy and saw none that was attacking his brickwork.



    I was still evaluating my neighbours mental state at this point and his tactics. However I worked out later that he feeds off peoples reactions. He needs a reaction and it frustrates him even more when he doesn’t get one. We believe he suffers from borderline personality disorder. You can search for this on the net.



    I then received a further letter from my neighbour. The letter also contains additional allegations about my damaging his gutter which were completely false and he mentions about my “past behavior”(sic). He also mentions some photos(in a P.S. to the letter) which I have never seen supposedly showing the gutter before and after my attempts at removing the ivy. I received no claim for these additional damages. This was very weak addition to the letter where he thinks he was being clever. In fact it turned out to be a big mistake on his part.



    Until the events referred to in my neighbours solicitors letter, I had no further verbal or written communication with him.



    My wife and I have heard on numerous occasions both before and after we fell out, my neighbour verbally abusing both his wife and children. There was also one occasion last year when I heard what, in my opinion, was his wife running away from him from their lounge into their kitchen after I heard a struggle where I believe he hit her. This was during a dispute between them relating to a financial matter. This has happened several times since.



    At this point I should point out that next door are also foster parents. Whilst we do not think that they should be foster parents, they are reasonably clever at covering up their tracks and presenting a “front” to authorities. It is our opinion that they do this solely for financial gain. TWe never see them take the foster children out, nor do they spend quality time with them. The male NFH is a taxi driver who spends most of his time at work or doing DIY. Its clear that both NFHs have difficulty living with each other and probably do it more out of habit now. He often threatens to leave when they have an argument but he never does. She has learnt to just not respond and has no self esteem except she does copy her husbands behaviour towards us to keep in his good books when he is around. The hell of living with him far surpasses living next door which has proven to be some consolation.



    Twice over the summer of 2000, their foster child who was then in their care climbed out of his bedroom window in the evening and climbed over the roof of the single storey rear extension to both properties and down off the roof near my back door. I overheard this whilst in my house on that particular evening and caught him. I was initially astonished that he was doing this and when I asked him why he was climbing down on our side, he explained that he had been locked in his room all day. I estimate he was about 13 years old. As he was clearly in some distress, I did my best to ensure that he had a place to go to. He explained that he was going to a friend's house and that my neighbours daughter (more on her later)was aware of him leaving and that she would let him back inside next morning. This put me in a very difficult situation and I considered that due to his distress and the verbal abuse he had been subject to by my neighbour, that to return him to his care would have put him at considerable risk. I recommended to the foster child that he should speak to Social Services.



    The incidences we have heard from next door also put my wife and I in a difficult situation as we had to weigh the risks of calling social services and/or the police against our own personal safety and well-being. He sent a letter from his solicitor and threatened legal action on the basis of a comment I made to him which I will refer to later.



    The foster child climbed down on a second occasion a few weeks later and the situation surrounding this was virtually identical to those described above except I did point out to him that he was putting himself at risk by climbing down off the roof. He has since left my neighbours household for reasons unknown and two new foster children has been placed in their care who are about eight and fourteen years old.



    I don't believe my neighbours are aware of the previous foster child escaping.



    In October 2000, I received notification that my neighbour was appealing against the decision of the Council as regards planning permission for his extension. I supplied further comments on the appeal written statement to the Planning Inspectorate.



    The appeal was dismissed in January 2001.



    I do not believe that it is a coincidence that less than a month later on in February 2001 in the afternoon that my neighbour rang my front doorbell. I answered and my neighbour requested that I came to see something relating to the garages at the rear of the properties.



    As previous discussions about communal matters relating to the houses had degenerated into an argument, I reluctantly agreed to my neighbours request as he assured me that he had not come looking for an argument. He showed me that the gutter alongside my garage had some debris in. I agreed with his statement. He then proceeded to show me the inside wall of his garage that runs alongside my garage where he claimed that water had overflowed from my gutter then ran down the wall of his garage and was causing damage on the inside wall of his garage. I disagreed that my gutter had been overflowing but agreed to clean it out nevertheless. My neighbour had pulled away a wooden cupboard away from the wall and showed me a damp patch on the wall and some fungal growth on the chipboard backing to the cupboard. The outline on the wall was the perfect outline of the cupboard. As I understand it, it is common for damp to accumulate behind cupboards placed against exterior walls. This was also after a particularly dry spell of several days. My neighbour asked to claim for the alleged damages through my insurance to which I disagreed as I did not believe that the alleged damage had been caused by my garage guttering overflowing. He then said that he would pursue the matter through his solicitor. I then proceeded to return to my garden and left his garage. He tried to insist that I admit that my gutter was overflowing as I walked away. I refused to answer any more questions from him. He then came up to me with his face inches away from mine and said what I recall to be the following, “One day you and me are going to meet alone face to face and I will sort you out, you coward.”



    Obviously I should have continued to walk away but due to the provocation, I then called him a coward back. I then walked off and entered my garden through the back gate and proceeded to walk down the path . He came after me and held the gate open. I believe he had to restrain himself from following me into my property and then he said what I recall as “ No, I won't come in, you're the coward”. I then said in a sarcastic tone what I recall to be, “Yeah, I beat up women and kids”. He then said, “That's slander”. I told him I would be calling the police. He then walked off.



    As I had been threatened with threats of violence before (as demonstrated on the taped conversation of May 2000) and from what I had heard previously, I felt I had no option but to call the police. I was looking up the number of the Police when his wife came to the front door. I answered and she asked in a hostile tone whether I was going to clear out the gutters. I replied that I had already explained that I would. She then asked what I was referring to about my neighbour beating up women and kids. She said that a friend of theirs had heard me. Oddly enough she had a smile on her face when she said this. This still sends shivers down my spine to this day. To be that dominated by someone that much that you are more concerned to get revenge on someone else than your own or your childrens welfare. This “friend” lives across the road from our houses. I can categorically state that I never saw this person in my neighbours garage and that consequently, he never came near my property. I suspect that this friend had been hiding in my neighbours garage in his expectation that I would admit liability for the alleged damage to his garage hence my neighbour trying to get me to admit that the gutter overflowed on my garage when I walked away. When I did not admit liability, my neighbour then threatened me out of his frustration that I not acted as he had hoped. I’ve since realised that my NFH tends to play situations out in his head hoping for a certain reaction which he never gets thus adding to his frustration.



    His wife then proceeded to call me “really weird” and asked if I was calling the police to which I replied that I was. She then said “I hope you do, I really hope you do.” I then closed my front door and she left my front garden.



    I called the police and explained that I had been threatened by my neighbour who said that they would log the complaint but that unless actual physical assault took place that there was nothing they could do. My neighbours then began to play music in their house very loud and carried out drilling work on the party wall to cause a disturbance, in my opinion.



    During the next week, I cleaned out the gutter as promised. I also regularly checked the gutter during heavy rainfall and no overflowing took place and all water flows into a water butt in my garden.



    On the following Saturday, a policeman called round and confirmed what I had been told on the phone by the Police that there was nothing they could do about my neighbours threat unless he actually physically assaulted me. I accepted his viewpoint and the policeman told me that my neighbours had also made a complaint about me regarding the alleged allegation by myself but, again, he had advised them that unless I took it further, that there was nothing he could do about my comments and that things are often said in neighbour disputes in the heat of the moment. The policeman did point out that the Council did offer a neighbour reconciliation scheme to which I said I would be willing to attend but I doubted that my neighbours would be willing to attend such a scheme. The policeman agreed with my statement and said that he had mentioned this to my neighbours who said that they would not be prepared to do this. My reading of his character is that it is very unlikely he would ever attend such a scheme.



    I had no communication with my neighbours for a while. However, on Easter Sunday evening 2001, I overheard my neighbour yelling at their foster child so loud that I could overhear it from my armchair near the adjoining wall. The foster child had claimed that one of the members of the household had hit him. My neighbour was yelling and swearing at him to say this was not true. He then called him a liar and told him to go upstairs and put in writing that he had not been hit and sign it for social services. He was also told to pack his toys away as he would be leaving. My neighbour called him “You little sh**!”



    This distressed both my wife and I and we considered going to my neighbours house and telling him that we could hear him. However, as with the previous foster child, we considered that to do without social services back up could put the new child at risk. With what has materialized since, this is a strategy we now regret.



    The next item of correspondence was from a solicitor engaged by my neighbour. Why this letter has been produced over 2 months since the events took place was a mystery.



    His solicitor only mentioned in the loosest terms the previous events as described above and did not mention the previous items of correspondence that my neighbour claims to have copied to him. I doubt that my neighbour ever did so and that this was merely put in for effect. My neighbour claimed that I called him a “woman and child beater” and that this allegation is all the more serious as he is a foster parent.



    It also referred to the guttering. I had already cleaned this out and examined it during heavy rainfall and found it was not overflowing and thus had no effect on my neighbours garage. His solicitor produced no satisfactory evidence that the opposite is the case.



    The letter finally makes a statement that roots and branches are emanating from “trees” planted on my land. It was strange that this sentence was in the plural as there is only one tree that grows on my land near the boundary out of 2 trees in my gardens. The other is a sapling whose roots do not enter my neighbours property. The tree near the boundary was trimmed back by professional tree surgeons in April 2001 at no cost to my neighbour who voluntarily allowed them access to his land to trim the tree back to the boundary!



    On previous occasions. my neighbour or his wife have trimmed this tree back and thrown the clippings into our garden. As for roots I have received no satisfactory evidence where the roots are growing and what damage, if any, they were causing. This tree had been present for at least as long as we have lived there (over 6 years) and is not substantially larger now than when we moved in. Agai he was simply trying to find reasons to get revenge.



    As I have pointed out previously and based on the written evidence and dates of events, I considered that my neighbour is seeking some form of recompense or revenge for the fact that his planning permission for his extension was turned down. As evidenced by his letter dated May 2000 (which he claims he had copied to his solicitor), he believes we are responsible. As this had been continuing for nearly a year it appeared that he would not cease harassing us until he achieved his aim.



    I therefore employed a solicitor of my own to draft a satisfactory response which she did and says that if my neighbours behaviour continues then she recommends that I raise an injunction against him under the “Protection From Harassment” Act 1997. She also said that we do have concerns about the care of foster children next door and are willing to discuss this with social services.



    I have to admit that since this letter was sent my neighbours did not pass comment on us when we attempt to relax in the garden though it was obviously a struggle for them to keep quiet. When they knew that we were in receipt of their original solicitors letter they made jibes at us when we attempted to relax on our patio. We ignored these and did not respond. They clearly thought that they were on a winning wicket. How wrong they were!



    However our solicitors reply mentioned the previous letters and when they sent a response it was clear that they had to lie to their own solicitor about the content of these letters as they did not have copies. They sent some poor photos of the gutter between the garages and a report dated June 2001 from an architect they employ who said he had visited the site in Feb 2001, a week AFTER I had cleared the gutter out. I have photos of these showing it to be perfectly clear. Even more bizarrely, they sent photos of the tree PRIOR to it being trimmed saying that these were taken recently. Thing is if you look at the trees around, they were clearly taken over winter! You've got to admire stupidity like that.



    I would not have been at all surprised if my NFH’s solicitor had given us some rope to hang him with. In the end we didn’t respond. They sent one more letter about wanting a response so I sent a letter myself saying we’ll respond fully when we see the photos of his damaged gutter from the letter in 2000. Though we didn’t mention the fact that these were meant to be of his damaged gutter as, again, we don’t think he kept a copy of this letter so he doesn’t know what photos we are referring to. I suspect that he then tried to launch a legal action against us but that his solicitor pointed out both the cost of this and the obvious flaws in his case.



    After this things quietened down and our policy of no-reaction appeared to be paying dividends. He did engage in some character assassination to the other neighbours but we felt it would only be a matter of time that they could see that all the aggravation was coming from him. Again this has worked and the neighbours on the other side now have very little to do with him as do most other neighbours who do not call round there anymore. In fact the neighbours on the other side are in a worse situation as they are constantly being contacted by the NFHs who are desperate to keep in with them. They've told us that they can't stand the NFH.



    Anyway, my NFH in summer 2001 then told the neighbours that I poisoned the fish in his pond. He has been saying this loud enough in his garden for us to overhear. Thankfully most of the neighbours have the sense to realize that we never do anything so monstrous and we since found out that only one fish had died. Selective poisoning? Hmmmm!



    Anyway, it then got to the stage where I was arriving home from work on the train and his rather unpleasant 14 year old daughter was waiting with a group of her friends to yell 'fishkiller!' at me as I exited the station. They also made references to the colour of my coat or what I am carrying so that the other passengers recognize me. I merely ignored her in the hope she would get bored but it didn’t work so in the end I just laughed at her following advice from someone else who said 14 year olds do not like to look silly. This then stopped. However we did find out a few months later that the gang she was with had since been caught after dragging a couple of kids from another school into some woods and beating them up resulting in one having a ruptured spleen. Most of the gang were suspended or expelled with the best friend of the daughter from hell being removed by her mother to get her away from her influence. The daughter from hell’s mother pleaded her case apparently saying that she got into a bad crowd. Remember what I said about putting on a front?



    Anyway after this there was no problem. My NFH eventually got permission for a reduced loft conversion which most people found looks foul but we didn’t object. He did damage some roof tiles on our house which I took photos of but he repaired these. We received the odd comment after this about cameras but again no response from us so he gave up.



    In May 2002 we had our first baby, James.



    In fact for most of the second half of last year its been quiet from next door. We’ve heard the usual rows but nothing to affect us directly. They throw hedge clippings over our side though its our hedge and takes only a matter of minutes to clear up.



    However last weekend they came home at about 1:30 am on a Sunday morning. There was blazing row between both NFH and their 20 year old son with her trying to defend her son from him. This sounded like it became physical. Our baby is currently ill with chicken pox and we were worried that he would wake up so we called the police who attended then left after he put on the usual front. He’d obviously deduced that it was us so he then put on his music as loud as possible with deep bass. This woke up the houses on the other side of us and the NFH. He did turn it down occasionally to see what reaction he was getting. We didn’t do anything. We called the police again but weren’t interested. I can really sympathise with those who feel the police do nothing to help. He eventually stopped playing and our baby, bless him, remained asleep throughout. However what the NFH didn’t know what that my wifes grandparents were staying and were out in the garden early on doing some work. The NFH came outside but was clearly shocked to see it wasn’t us but my wife’s parents in the house.



    That day there was total silence from next door, hopefully realising that they may have been a bit more stupid than usual. They should also report police attendance to the foster authorities but I doubt they will. At least it has shown that for all their efforts, the NFH has seen that we won’t be intimidated or place our son at risk of any harm from him. I’ve told my wife though that if our son becomes affected by next door that we call social services who will place next door under observation. Their son, who actually hasn’t been any bother at all, seems to have moved out. Their daughter is taking after her father and calls her mother an f***ing this and that. She’ll be leaving school this year after failing her one or two GCSEs. Whether this will force her to grow up or go off the rails remains to be seen.



    Two footnotes are that next door applied for planning permission for a conservatory and told all the neighbours that we would object to it. We didn’t and in fact sent a letter supporting the application. The other is that the gutter on our garage mentioned early on had some more leaf debris in it so I cleared it out but some got trapped in the downpipe. I could only clear it by the next day by which time it had rained and the gutter overflowed where there is a slight backfall. This did prompt a letter immdiately from next door asking us to replace the whole gutter! I removed the blockage, as planned, that evening. Thing is, he can’t see that we’ve done anything so is regularly outside with a camera when it is raining waiting for it to overflow which it never does. Just in case I have taken pictures during heavy rainfall showing it to be working ok and nowhere near overflowing.



    Not sure what anyone else can do. Looking at what other have had to endure tells us that its nigh on impossible to do anything. Any further tips are useful. Anyway I hope reading our experience helps others. I think that the fact our NFH needs to put on a decent front to be considered as foster parents means that we haven’t suffered as much as some. I can see them simply imploding though due to them being consumed by hatred.



    I think our approach of non-response to harassment is generally paying off and only acting when it may effect our son. We think we've got them on the back foot and they realise they need to be careful but we are playing a long term game. It also helps to keep a sense of humour.
    Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



    We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




    So what's the plan?



    Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

  • #2
    Thanks Badger. I did read your story prior to posting and it was truly horrendous. You just left them to fester in a cess pit of their making.



    Thankfully for us we have decent neighbours elsewhere who have clearly seen what is going on despite what my NFH initially said. He said we damaged his garage, poisoned his fish. His wife said that I was verbally abusive to her. All made up. I've got to admit though that the recent gutter thing is quite funny. I thought about writing and telling him that it was a blockage in the downpipe but thought if its not overflowing then that would be that. But he's so petty that he thinks we haven't done anything so goes out whenever it rains to see if its overflowing. He put on his letter that he had copied it to "my solicitor", and "Insurance Legal Agent" as though to put the frighteners on us. I'm kind of hoping I get another letter but no rush.



    RockBank
    Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



    We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




    So what's the plan?



    Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

    Comment


    • #3
      oh b*m...I just lost a big reply to you Rockbank!!



      welcome to the board and thanks for sharing your story!



      I will reply again when I get the feeling back in my fingers!!!

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for all the comments and support. Again there was silence last night. So it seems that they might have finally realised that we won't take any more harassment though I think its more likely that they are worried about us calling social services. Don't worry, if we think the foster children are in danger we'll call them. The fact that we haven't retaliated in any shape or form must be playing on their minds. My contempt for them though is complete and they don't worry or bother us me anymore. They're SC*M, everyone around knows they're SC*M and to a certain extent I think that at least his wife realizes they are SC*M too.



        Aquarius. Interested to hear about the extension. There is a solution open to you. I'll post this on your thread.
        Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



        We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




        So what's the plan?



        Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi rockbank,



          There's not much more I can add to the other replies except I admire your coolness. It can't be fun living next door to a self serving, idiot like that.



          As April says, it must have cost you a bit to instruct a solicitor and I think its very unfair when you have to fork out for other people's bad behaviour. The good thing is that the other neighbours know just what an unreasonable person your NFH is. Pity the Social Services aren't quite so astute!



          Anyway, I hope things stay quiet for you and your family and that you are allowed to enjoy your home.



          Take care



          Misty
          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

          Comment


          • #6
            What worries me most, who is bothering about those foster kids who have already gone through hell, poor mites.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by rockbank@Jan 27 2003, 1:54 PM

              Twice over the summer of 2000, their foster child who was then in their care climbed out of his bedroom window in the evening and climbed over the roof of the single storey rear extension to both properties and down off the roof near my back door. I overheard this whilst in my house on that particular evening and caught him. I was initially astonished that he was doing this and when I asked him why he was climbing down on our side, he explained that he had been locked in his room all day. I estimate he was about 13 years old. As he was clearly in some distress, I did my best to ensure that he had a place to go to. He explained that he was going to a friend's house and that my neighbours daughter (more on her later)was aware of him leaving and that she would let him back inside next morning. This put me in a very difficult situation and I considered that due to his distress and the verbal abuse he had been subject to by my neighbour, that to return him to his care would have put him at considerable risk. I recommended to the foster child that he should speak to Social Services.



              The incidences we have heard from next door also put my wife and I in a difficult situation as we had to weigh the risks of calling social services and/or the police against our own personal safety and well-being. He sent a letter from his solicitor and threatened legal action on the basis of a comment I made to him which I will refer to later.



              The foster child climbed down on a second occasion a few weeks later and the situation surrounding this was virtually identical to those described above except I did point out to him that he was putting himself at risk by climbing down off the roof. He has since left my neighbours household for reasons unknown and two new foster children has been placed in their care who are about eight and fourteen years old.



              I don't believe my neighbours are aware of the previous foster child escaping.



              I had no communication with my neighbours for a while. However, on Easter Sunday evening 2001, I overheard my neighbour yelling at their foster child so loud that I could overhear it from my armchair near the adjoining wall. The foster child had claimed that one of the members of the household had hit him. My neighbour was yelling and swearing at him to say this was not true. He then called him a liar and told him to go upstairs and put in writing that he had not been hit and sign it for social services. He was also told to pack his toys away as he would be leaving. My neighbour called him “You little sh**!”



              This distressed both my wife and I and we considered going to my neighbours house and telling him that we could hear him. However, as with the previous foster child, we considered that to do without social services back up could put the new child at risk. With what has materialized since, this is a strategy we now regret.


              Hi Rockbank



              Sorry, I've come into this thread at a late stage, but a big, belated welcome to the forum board, and I'm glad you joined us! Just a quick reply now as it's late, but just wanted to say a quick "hi".



              Wow, that has to be the longest post I've ever read on here! Phew! What an absolute epic of an NFH you have and what a situation you and your family are living with and to top it all you've got to pay out for a Solicitor to deal with it.



              I hope things get (and stay!) calmer for you all.



              I have to comment on what you said about your NFH being Foster Carers.....and I hope this isn't taken as a personal negative comment at all, as it isn't directed at you, but I do feel strongly about this - you need to report your NFH to the Social Services dept and the sooner the better. From what you've described, your NFH aren't fit to be acting as 'Foster Parents' in the first place. To know of something that could be considered as 'bad practice' from a Foster Carer and by not reporting it (and I do understand your reasons and explanation, honestly ) is the same as condoning their behaviour. By doing nothing, it is giving out signals (and I'm sure you wouldn't intend to do this from your post) that you don't think your NFH are doing anything wrong as foster carers.



              When Foster Carers are appointed they become part of a 'professional circle' - in other words, they are paid for the 'services' they provide to a foster child. Yes, foster carers may have (and often do have) other reasons and priorities for their fostering (e.g. their willingness to care for children), it is important to remember that they don't do this for free either and they are well paid for their services (they become 'self employed' in essence). They are fully accountable for their actions (or lack of them), as any Social Worker is, as any professional (e.g. Nurse, Doctor, etc) is.



              I think you always have to consider the worst that could possibly happen and ask yourself if anything ever happened to a Foster Child next door through the results of bad practice of your neighbours, could you really live with the consequences (say falling off the roof, or a foster child that is abused verbally by your NFH or even the longer term mental health effects on a child, etc, etc).



              I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm sitting in judgment, it's not my intention, honestly - but you've in-deliberately become a part of your NFH's foster care, albeit indirectly, but all you need to do is to pass this information over to the Social Services and make them aware, insist they investigate, give details (times, dates, what happened) etc. It then becomes their problem, you've done your bit. I can't urge you strongly enough to do this.



              Foster children often come from deprived backgrounds where they've either suffered abuse, physical neglect, come from family breakdowns, criminally-orientated backgrounds and for many other reasons they go into foster care (e.g. emergency placements, short term or even longer term for years into adulthood) - to go into an unstable, un-caring and un-nurturing environment such as the one you've described your NFH as having is surely going to have severely detrimental effects on a child's/young person's well being.



              I feel that all of us have a duty to protect children, whether they are in our street, next door, or something we see in public. It's not about being nosey, 'sticking our beaks in' where they're not wanted, but being pro-active and thinking, if they were "our children" being abused, taken advantage of, neglected and so on, how would "we feel"?



              By the way, do you know who your NFH are 'employed' by as Foster Carers? e.g. is it the Local Authority SS, or is it a local based 'agency'? An agency or Social Services dept would have undertaken rigorous assessment of them as Foster Carers, and would have taken references, many details about the personal lives, values, family, work, everything - but even professionals can miss things. As members of the public we have a duty to inform the 'professionals' of anything they may have missed/overlooked or not be aware of at all.



              Look at all the current news around 'Social Work Professionals' etc and the increasing (and rightly so) accountability and consequences of non-intervention from Social Work professionals (e.g. current "Climbie Report") - never forget that Foster Carers are classed as 'professional carers' within their own right. They have a duty to provide consistent, good quality and effective care towards a foster child - if they don't, they shouldn't be acting as Foster Carers at all; foster carers have high demands placed on them (not only by the young person/foster child, but by the agencies that place the child with them in the first place) - the have to meet these demands, expectations and duties 100% of the time, all the time.



              Ultimately, anything you do rests with you and I understand that totally and sometimes such choices can lead to other longer term effects for you and your family, I understand that - I'm not preaching, but just trying to give an honest, objective opinion



              In all honesty, can you really afford to "wait" until you think any Foster Child is in danger, it sounds already like the potential (from what you've said) is already there, it could happen anytime, anyplace - you may or may not witness it or become aware of it. What worries me even more, is what is going on behind closed doors? What else could be happening? I'm guessing that your neighbours are still current foster carers? Being approved as a foster carer isn't a one-off process, they have to be 'validated' and evaluated regularly and they are not entitled to automatically be re-approved as foster carers.



              Anyway, that said - I hope your week is staying better, it's good to have you on board!

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the reply Matthew. Don't worory, I haven't taken it personally.



                So far as social services go, I didn't add this to the original post as I felt it was long enough but my wife, who does work alongside social services occasionally, has spoken to them though not mentioning next door by name.



                She was told by them that we were placing our middle class values on foster families. Often these children come from homes where, for example, their mother will be assaulted or raped in front of them, their mother is on drugs or had her head smashed through a window by her partner. Despite the problems of next it hasn't got that far though its sounded pretty close.



                Again she attended a conference where a social worker was talking about foster carers. She met up with someone who was in a similar situation to us and during the session they asked what would happen if it was felt that foster carers were abusing children. They were told by the social worker that this would never happen as the checks are too stringent. Again they insisted that they knew of cases where this was occurring. The social worker got quite flustered and basically told them they were mistaken. Terrific eh?



                So getting to this case, if we told social services, it would seem doubtful they would do anything. I do admit that if they knew social services had been contacted they would probably behave themselves, at least towards us. However you've already seen how the NFH will manipulate the children and his wife to his own end.



                The Victoria Climbie case comes as no surprise to us whatsoever tragically. Take a look at what people had been reporting and still nothing was done and this was well in extreme of anything we've witnessed so far. The child climbing over our side will simply be classed as teenage angst.



                I think it sounds so straightforward what you are saying. The sad truth, it isn't and social services are so desperate for foster carers that virtually anyone can be one. They also have a culture of avoiding responsibility. My own father in law was in foster care for years and concurs with what he found about social services. Too many buck passing bureaucrats



                There is another factor that I value my son's well being far above anything else, hence when there was a risk of him being disturbed the other night, we caled the police. This resulted in a far greater disturbance though thankfully he remained asleep.



                Another problem is that when there is a disturbance we can't record it through the wall. Is there equipment where this could be done? If we had more solid evidence this would change things.



                I think what you're saying is the right thing to do but sadly its not in any way guaranteed to bring a solution. Worst case for us is that they stop being foster carers and feel that they now have nothing to lose by harassing us constantly. There is a responsibility for social services to take hold of this. but I will only do it if our welfare and the welfare of our son is guaranteed.



                I did phone the NSPCC anonymously and asked that very same question. They could not give any guarantee that we would be safe. And don't take this personally, would any of us here risk our own familes safety?
                Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



                We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




                So what's the plan?



                Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is another factor which I didn't add earlier but your questions and points have got me thinking. I'll add a quick update too.



                  The daughter from hell has clearly taken great delight over the last few years in telling what is left of her schoolmates about us hence the "fishkiller" comment earlier on and, I suspect, her fathers allegation that we called him a woman and child beater.



                  Well on the night of the disturbance, she did have several friends round for a night in and I'm 100% certain that they all stayed the night. Now the company she keeps isn't that pleasant but I don't think they are anywhere near as bad as she is. Now these 15/16 year old girls will have not only heard the fight between the NFH, his wife and son but they will know the police were called and they will have heard, in nauseating detail, the loud music played thereafter. They will also be aware of the foster children being there and the fact that there was no retaliation on our part.



                  Now, being 15/16 year olds, they will now be gossiping about this at school, so probably most of the school year will know about it. Some of them are also likely to have told their parents. Whereas before, the NFH could easily shut up those in his household, stopping gossip at the local secondary school is nigh on impossible and amongst parents.



                  The NFH has been desperate to present an acceptable face to the outside world. Perhaps now, he realises that this could be his undoing. The NFH, as mentioned originally, will have realised that we had my wife's grandparents staying.



                  Again last night there was total silence and this morning I left late for work and noticed that neither his wife, the foster kids or his two children were there. he left for work in his taxi as per usual. Something has happened next door though what it is and the significance of it, I'm not quite sure.



                  However we can rest assure that many more people will now know about the antics of next door and equally, how quiet we have been.



                  Not sure where this will now lead but I'll keep you informed. Just out of interest though, if your 15/16 year old daughter had come home and told you that there had been a fight between the NFH and his wife and the police were called AND music was then played at a deafening level, what would your reaction be?
                  Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



                  We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




                  So what's the plan?



                  Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Rockbank



                    First off, I'm glad you didn't take my comments personally, as they were aimed at your NFH's obvious incompetence at being Foster Carers.



                    You're definitely in a tricky situation and the response you got from these so-called Social Work professionals is astounding! Their jobs are worth too much for them to simply 'shrug' you off and not listen to your allegations, not even giving them a proper chance to be recorded and even checked out. It's a poor professional who does this in my opinion, sheesh



                    I'd go one step further, put all my concerns in writing, detailed, factual and send it to the Director of Social Services, they will have no choice then but to at least check your allegations. I know where you're coming from though and I too would fear for my family's safety, it's a tough choice to have to make. Anonymity would probably certainly not be guaranteed as SS would have to interview you in all probability.



                    The Local Authorities supply recording equipment in most cases, but after you've kept extensive noise logs etc - the equipment is normally very sensitive and will pick up 90% of the noise from next door, etc.



                    Wishing you a peaceful day

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi all,



                      Sorry I didn't get back earlier but you know how it is.



                      All respect to you and your family for the cool attitude you have given NFH, it is very hard not to respond to them in the negative and abusive way they treat you, We had to bite out toungues on many occassions, refusing to stoop to their level.



                      you seem to be doing all the right things with evidence and recording and legally.



                      Like the others here I also am concerned for the foster child/ren next door.



                      I would be very tempted to report my concerns if only to give me a clear concience. If any thing did happen at least you would know you tried to help protect these children.

                      Like Matthew said, there is so much in the news about abuse and failing support from authorities.



                      I do totally understand you wanting to protect your own family, like Badger said you are stuck between a rock and a hard place.



                      what is the best thing to do?



                      if you reported it would NFH know it was you?

                      are there other people who know about this who might also report it?

                      and what would be the thing to make you report it? I mean what level of abuse would it need to get to?



                      Sorry, I sound like I am on a soap box!

                      I also work for social services who operate a zero tolernce policy.



                      I am glad that things are a little quieter for you at the moment, and I hopr they remain that way!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the message EBeth.



                        if you reported it would NFH know it was you?

                        He would amost certainly have thought so before. However with what apear to be many more witnesses now, he may have a job pinning it down to us.





                        are there other people who know about this who might also report it?



                        Well, I know the neighbours on the other side know about it but they've seen what we've had to put up with since we fell out with next door so aren't prepared to rock the boat. I should point out that initially they were very pally with next door and even went round there to listen to him sl*g us off so I don't really have that much sympathy for them. To be fair don't know how I'd react in a similar situation.



                        and what would be the thing to make you report it? I mean what level of abuse would it need to get to?



                        If we actually heard him hitting the foster kids we'd report it. Though its actually been shown in studies that mental abuse is far more damaging long term than physical abuse. I've got to admit that if a child went there who we knew, we'd do everything in our power to stop them fostering. That's probably the hardest part of this episode. If we ever thought that our son could go to a family like this, we'd stop at nothing to prevent it. Thankfully he has enough extended family that this will never happen. But is it right that we aren't prepared to do for other children who we don't know what we would do for those that we do?



                        However turning the tables, and again don't take this personally. Supposing someone like me came to you with my concerns. You say you have "Zero tolerance" policy. Not quite sure what this means and again I think it sounds lke more will be done than actually would be done. Tough words but I doubt the actions live up to this. I'm prepared to be corrected on this.



                        What evidence would be needed for something to be done?

                        What exactly would be done?

                        How would you protect my family from increased harassment? Bear in mind I'd want some cast iron guarantees and immediate comeback. It may be worth you discussing this with your colleagues.



                        I'm sure that this is the reason so much doesn't get reported as people are worried whatmight happen to them in return. And unforunately our experience of social services is that they are always covering their own asses first before worrying about others. That's probably not true but no-one has yet given us acceptable answers to the above.



                        On a plus point though, I'm now hoping many more people now know what goes on in the NFHs house. Will anyone do anything remains to be seen



                        For the moment something does appear to have happened next door so for the moment I'm going to sit it out and see what develops.



                        Thinking about my own question earlier on about being a parent of one of the DFHs friends, I think I'd phone up the NFH to find out what occurred and finding out its true stop my daughter from ever going round there.
                        Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



                        We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




                        So what's the plan?



                        Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          That's always assuming that the girls friends told their parents. Girls of that age can be quite secretive with regards to their parents. Believe me, I've been there



                          As to social workers, well, I'm sure there are countless numbers of good social workers but they are only as good as the system will allow them to be. I remember reading a letter from an ex-lecturer at John Moores University (about ten years ago), who lamented the fact that he was virtually forced to give good grades to his soon-to-be-social-worker students,many of whom, he bemoaned, were in dire need of case-workers themselves. I actually knew one of his students and I was shocked when I found out she had become a social worker because I knew her background and it wasn't very savory. Her own son left home because of the way she treated him. She was deeply into drink and drugs and had more boyfriends than I've had hot dinners. I even heard from a mutual friend that she had slept with a superior and was virtually blackmailing him into giving her promotion!!



                          To put someone like that in charge of people's lives is, to me, criminal!! And if she could become a social worker how many others of her ilk could do the same?



                          Please don't think that I think all social workers are like that, I realise that is just ONE example out of many hundreds, thousands. I also think that the caseloads given to some social workers is so heavy that they just cannot cope effieciently with all their work.



                          I do appreciate your position rockbank and I'm with you about the safety of your own family, that must come first. On the news yesterday it stated that 30 children in 36 years have died at the hands of parents and carers despite neighbours, friends and family alerting the appropriate authorities. That is totally unacceptable. Every time it happens there is an enquiry and 'they' say 'Never again'. If it is possible perhaps you could speak Social services, as Beth said, at least then your conscience would be clear and maybe, just maybe someone might actually do something.



                          Misty
                          "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks for the messgaes of support. I would think that teenage girls, in particular, would have found it at best scary, at worst terrifying. Once the noise did die down we did hear the DFH trying to laugh it off. I suspect her friends laughed politely back but their thoughts would have been "what the f*** is this house like?" Seriously the intensity of the fight shook us so god knows how it affected them.



                            The DFH has grow up with the NFH so thinks his behaviour is "normal". Equally sadly is that she is very overweight and not at all attractive. Not a PC statement but at her age this is important. This family have never done any sports or recreational activity that we can see. In fact we've even heard the young foster boy told to stop playing outside and go inside and watch a video! Anyway the DFH coupled with a lousy personality, a poor set of moral values and very poor academic standards has absolutely nothing going for her. This combined with her friends almost certainly gossiping about her at her school and probably quite upset may finally spell the end for the NFH household. Would teachers take any notice of this?



                            MistyEyed, your comments have got me thinking about this. There were some of the girls mothers there in the morning. Its just possible that one or two of them may have been staying too. In fact the conversations I coud hear next door makesme think that this probably was the case.



                            Again I'm going to sit it out and see what develops. The fact that they have been so quiet over the last few nights is not typical behaviour.
                            Now, these creatures are bringers of death and misery. They will never eat, they will never sleep, and they will never stop.



                            We are part of an ancient secret society. For three thousand years we have guarded the Cities and Towns. We are sworn at manhood to do any and all in our power to stop the NFH from ever being reborn into this world.




                            So what's the plan?



                            Rescue the damsel in distress, stop the bad guys, save the world.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi all!! hI Rockbank,



                              Have tried to reply but havingf difficulties-



                              if you get this then be assured I will wade in with our usual "balanced" view on things!!



                              if you've been tracking the site then you know what to expect.!!



                              peace to you all



                              The Horsefans





                              ps . will reply properly when the technical probs been resolved. Already lost two damned good responses!!!
                              "Take off and nuke the site from orbit- it's the only way to be sure!"



                              apologies if you are an "Aliens" fan



                              Posh Noodle - NOT for the likes of YOU!!

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