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  • Harassment and Bullying

    I, (parent/carer) live on a small housing estate (10)houses with my adult autistic and learning disabled son and his carer/carers. We have recently been subjected to a string of alleged, unsupported allegations of a highly malicious and defamatory nature. Although we have lived here over two years some of the tenants have recently taken it into their heads to complain about my programme for my son, and what they call "inappropriate care" and have gone on to state that one carer went for a walk with my son with two local adolescent girls of the area and during the walk had stated that my autistic son likes to touch breasts and legs, the implication being that they should be allowed!!! I know my carers well, trust them implicitly as they have helped me for six years now and the allegations are bordering on the absurd especially as "these" neighbours" refuse to speak to me and I havn't spoken to them for nearly a whole year. So how they know about my programme, visits out and my carers I really don't know. That however unfortunately doesn't stop the Housing Association from taking them seriously and it been round to collect stories of these wild allegations. They have then, without informing me, seen fit to pass them on to social services who unfortunately also seem to be taking them seriously and consequently subjecting me to visits and intensive questioning and and then even after a swering them the doubts about me seem to continue. I took my adult son out of a high need residential home in 1997 and have thus saved the local authority a package working as a committed parent round the clock 24/7 without any recognition at all as an unpaid but useful worker for them.

    I understand that one of these tenants has now chosen to put her/his allegations in writing and this has gone to the housing association and now been passed onto social services. Of course I am not allowed to know who the author of this letter is and they take the privacy of the complaining person extremely serious in that they will reveal nothing to me other than the broadest outline thereby in my opinion colluding with them. All I have at the moment is a copy of the letter written by housing to social services outlining these complaints which cast doubt on my programme of care, the quality of the care and attempt to destroy the integrity of my carer/carers.

    As we are among the quietest tenants on the estate I am beginning to wonder if colour prejudice could also come into it as my son is coloured although I and his carers are white. Of course nobody is going to admit to that.

    I would welcome any advice and information you could give me as there is no advice, support or information as to my rights coming from either housing or social services. I look forward to any replies. Kirsty

  • #2
    Kirsty, I'm horrified by your story. It's a sad but true fact that some people are racist and along with racism goes other kinds of bigotry.

    You would think people would be understanding of your situation rather than spread malicious rumours and cause you such pain. You and your son are obviously perceived as 'different' and NFH are notorious for causing problems to people who are different.

    It's almost medieaval to be accused by anonymous people and to have to undergo what is a trial from Social Services and HA. I cannot understand these people, they seem to have this primeval instinct to inflict pain on others!! I've noticed that time after time members of this board say things like 'we keep ourselves to ourselves' and it seems it is like a red rag to a bull that the ignorant, the vicious and the totally sociopathic NFH have to make trouble.

    It is grossly unfair that you should have to justify yourself on the word of anonymous accusers. Have you obtained any legal advice? Perhaps you should get your MP involved.

    I won't say any more right now because I'm sure that other members of the board will have much more useful advice for you. Please don't let these evil people get you down. Come back here as often as you need you will receive a lot of advice and support, I'm sure.

    "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


    • #3

      Firstly, hello to you and can I say how sorry I am just reading your posting. But, right now you don't want my pity you need direct help.

      This is barbaric and I think Matthew - who is our board Administrator - may be able to help you with the Social Services issue as I think I am right in saying he has some inside knowledge, but, give him a chance and he will post.

      I don't want to frighten you here, but, the thing is that you need to get some real professional help. I am guessing that as a carer you will be on benefits so you will be entitled to legal aid which will not cost you anything. You must - and I stress this point strongly - get a solicitor. Tuesday morning you get the Yellow Pages out and you ring around. Go to see various different solicitors and get advice. Go by your gut feeling of who you feel is going to do the best job in terms of representing both your sons and your interests.

      This, I have to say is both slander and defamation of character and not only one individuals character either.

      I have just looked up in my legal book here about Malicious Prosecution, but, this involves criminal proceedings - but, ask your solicitor what avenues there are in civil law.

      There is however, something called Malicious Communications :-

      It is an offence for someone to send another person a letter, tape-recording or any other item that is indecent, grossly offensive, abusive or threatening with the intent to cause the recipient distress or anxiety. The item might be a poison-pen letter, for example an anonymous, false allegation that the recipients spouse is an adulterer. It goes on to state that someone whose reputation is damaged as a result of a malicious and false communication may be able to sue the person responsble and this then comes under the Libel and Slander laws.

      You would certainly come under the Libel law as this was in written form to Social Services, However, as I have stressed previously you do need to get professional help on this.

      You are also suffering from a constant barrage of harassment - you may need to speak with your solicitor and ask about a 'Restraining Order' against the perpetrator/s. This is done in the local Magistrates Courts, but, this is also another avenue to look at.

      The fact is Kirsty when stop being a victim and start taking action then NFH start running for cover. You need to start hitting back - legally and the sooner you do the sooner you can get on with the rest of your lives.

      Your carers are in effect also your witnesses too and I hope that they will support you through this time and give information on your behalf to your legal team.

      I don't want to cause you any further distress and that is why I impressing on you strongly that the only way forward is getting on board a good solicitor.

      As Misty says, come back here when you need to.


      • #4
        Hi Kirsty,

        welcome to the board, I will reply properly to you soon as I am off on a night shift now and am running short of time!

        just to say social services and many council officers will be closed both mon and tues.

        as they are both classed as BHs!

        do you have a social worker?

        I am guessing you do as you have workers for your son.

        You need to sit down with your SW and tell them exactly whats been going on.

        A decent SW will understandand should be supportive of you and your son.

        The neighbours you have mentioned sound totally ignorant and may only know a little about your sons condition, possibley what they have seen on tv.

        If you were on talking terms with them I would suggest that you actually tell them a little and explain reasons why you and your workers work with your son in a certain way. not that you ever need to justify yourself to them!

        Have they actually met your son???

        people are very quick to judge.

        I work in a residential/respite home for Adults with Learning Disabilities and several of our respite clients have various autistic traits. everyone of them has an individual care plan as individual people they have different ways their needs must be met and ways they like their needs to be met.

        Sometimes the people I work with will say something they have heard on the tv or from other people and will use it totally out of context, we deal with it in the way needed at the you know what you said, are you aware of what it means.

        but when out it can cause members of the public to feel uncomfortable, however most people in our community know the residents and take it in their stride.

        Your NFH have taken it too extremes, in this scenerio they are the ones with the disability not your son.

        I would get on to SS and tell them that you feel these NFH are abusing your son...and it is abuse, verbal and mental abuse is equally as bad in my books.

        your LA should have an adult abuse procedure.

        let us know how you and your son get along.


        • #5
          hello Kirsty,

          I agree with everything Scooby says. If you can get Legal Aid, go for it and hit them hard. I can sypathise with you about the way the social services and housing association treat you. They all hide behind "Confidentiality" the refuge of cowards. It never ceases to amaze me that anyone can make a allegation which they know will cause suffering and stress and never be bought to account if and when these allegations are proved false. As Scooby says, remember the carers are your witnesses. These nfh are just sad people who probably lead a dull life and they also probly haven't got any true friends.

          I am having a similar experience with S.S (they have the right initials don't they) and H A and they both repeat allegations but are never able to substantiate them but they never apologise or admit error.

          Keep strong and good luck.


          • #6
            Welcome Kirsty, glad you made it on OK

            These allegations appear absolutely groundless from what you've said. What will hurt the most for you is, the personal attack of it all. The way it will make you feel guilty (even though you obviously have no need to be) over something you haven't done wrong. It's very personal too when we are asked like this to justify our actions and care given.

            24/7 carers have an intense time as it is, to have the added pressure of these malicious and spiteful individuals must, frankly be awful for you. The housing association were very underhanded in the way they got involved in complaining to the Social Services, when in fact they should have approached you first with these 'complaints'. It is in fact, not very much to do with them anyway in my opinion.

            You have nothing to fear, it's obvious that you're a committed, caring and reflective carer, otherwise you wouldn't be posting here Let them do their 'investigation' and try not to worry, often some Social Workers are heavy-handed, 'officious' types and they will often indavertantly make you feel intimidated (I can say that quite honestly as my profession is both within Learning Disability Nursing and Social Work!).

            You clearly need an advocate to act on your behalf and your son's (e.g. Cloverleaf, People First etc will gladly help you both). These allegations not only concern you, they effect him too. Your rights are being trampled on as far as I can see, and through all this, the professionals seem to be 'forgetting' to offer you the services you are entitled to. Are you getting any respite care still? Any help towards the costs if so? Are you getting all the carers benefits and discounts you are entitled to?

            Where are you in the country? Private Message me with this if you don't want to say on the board publicly ok. What other health and social work professionals are involved in the package of care that you and the other carers currently offer for your son? Get them involved and let them know about these allegations, get them batting on your side - hopefully they will know and have proof that your care for your son is effective, appropriate and above-board.

            You have a right to see a copy of the complaint details, all of it, against you. The complainants details may be witheld yes, but how can you possibly defend yourself against a complaint if you don't have the full details? All of this sounds and smells very malicious to me. If you have to instigate your own complaint back at the Social Services dept if you are not satisfied with this situation and how it's being handled, do so in writing - ask for a copy of how to do it from the SS dept. Sometimes, it's easy to feel like we're getting trapped in a corner with things like this, positive action and exercising your own rights will empower you. Speak to the Local Authority's Complaints and Compliments Officer if you have to.

            As Beth has also said, get the professional help you need and deserve and do it ASAP; if you haven't got a current Social Worker allocated to meet your son's needs ask for his case to be re-opened and his needs re-assessed. May I ask why your son left the (long-term?) residential care service? Again, please private message me if you'd rather not say publicly.

            Come back often, looking forward to hearing back from you with some more details


            • #7
              Hi Kirsty,

              My heart goes out to you! A bombshell like that coming just before the weekend so you just have to wait... We had the same with a malicious neighbour reporting our 'child abuse' anonymously to Social Services - we got the letter on a Friday...

              Advice we had at the time (from teachers) was that if SS were seriously alarmed by the allegations they wouldn't write to you, they'd just have turned up!

              Unpleasant though it is, the anonymity of complainants is important. The safety & well-being of vulnerable people (your son, our children, etc) is more important than anything else, and if it takes having to put up with people who abuse the system, it's a price I'll pay (maybe not too gladly) to keep my children and yours safe.

              You seem to know what you're doing with your son's programme of care, and how it's implemented. That's in your favour. My advice to myself when it happened to us (I found it hard to take) was 1 to keep cool about the neighbours: these people are not worth wasting energy on) and 2 to be honest with SS. Second point was easier than the first...

              I guess your carers need to know the full details of what's going on too, asap, as it affects them as well.

              You know you love your son and do the best possible for him. Stay strong with that thought.
              "Poor Tom shall lead thee" (King Lear)


              • #8
                I'm sure a solicitor will be able to help but I'm fairly sure that you can't get legal aid for libel or slander cases

                I'm sure Matthew and Beth's advice will stand you in good stead, Kirsty, and everybody else's of course

                Try not to worry too much. You obviously have enough on your plate as it is. Hopefully your NFH will find out about karma very soon.

                "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


                • #9
                  Actually in point of fact Msty you cannot get legal aid for libel - which as you state is quite correct.

                  From memory I believe, you need funds of about £30,000 minimum as these cases are more often than not dealt with in the High Courts as both Magistrates and County Courts simply do not have the expertise to deal with it.

                  However, when you put something down in writing that you know to to be factually incorrect then that is Libel whichever way you look at it.

                  I feel that if Kirsty was to place this in the hands of a solicitor and also to follow what Beth and Matthew have also suggested by way of her Social Worker, then there will be an added impetus to bringing this to a successful conclusion.

                  Some may feel that going to a solicitor could be going over the top, but, my experience of bringing a solicitor in at the early stages takes alot of the burden off you and in so doing gives you some peace of mind that your legal team will be acting in your best interests throughout.

                  Kirsty may feel that with the solicitor taking on her case he/she will be able to glean an awful lot more information about what has been going on than any Social Worker would be able to as a Social Worker would at times advocate that by divulging certain amounts of information would be going outside their 'Job Description'.

                  A good solicitor would get this information and be able to 'Pick Holes' in these vile allegagtions and as I said earlier bring the whole thing to a swift close.


                  • #10
                    Hi Kirsty and welcome to the Board

                    I have just read through the advice given by the other members and there isn't much more that I can add.

                    However, I will say that malicious reporting of concerns to the local authority housing and/or SS is underhand and time-wasting behaviour and no-one should have to put up with it. My advice to you is to speak to your Social Worker/s as soon as you can, let them know everything.

                    If (I emphasis, if) these complainants had valid concerns, then yes, of course, they should report it - it would be only right, and SS should investigate. I hope that by nipping this in the bud as soon as possible the matter will be resolved and as Badger says, SS can make a note that any further complaints should be treated as malicious.

                    Just out of interest, when was the last time that SS carried out an assessment of your sons needs under section 47 NHS and Community Care ACt 1990, and your (and his carers) needs under the 1995 Carers Act?

                    Follow Matthew's advice aswell and try and get some support from Voluntary sector organisation.

                    Wishing you all the best Kirsty.