Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 07:23 am
CPS here means Child Protective Services... in case it is misunderstood.

and as my username suggests, Yes, I am a regular poster, I just can not be associated with this question if anyone were to ever do a search for me, or my screen name .
Sorry for the 'drama' of that, but this family is the type who will 'pay me back' if anything happened and they knew who started it.

My downstairs neighbors are horrible.

What kind of person tells their 9 year old daughter " shut up you stupid bitch?"

They chastise her, tease her, embarrass her, threaten her, yell at her, you name it.

The father has also chased his 17 or 18 year old son out of the house with a shovel.

This house is so abusive it isn't even funny.
But they don't hit.. I don't think..

And since they don't hit, they use some of the most aweful words and emotional abuse I have ever heard before.

I am getting close to wanting to call someone for the sake of that little girl.
But CPS can be devastating for a family.

I'm truly, truly torn.

First off, a familys life is none of my business. But I can not help but hear, with odd clarity due to living in an old building EXACTLY what they say to each other.
I hear them tell her she is a piece of ****.
I hear them tell her she is worthless
I hear them tell her she is a pain in their ass
I hear them tell her she is a bitch

you name it, this little girl has heard it, over and OVER again...
And when she cries, they laugh at her and tease her. ASk her why she is crying, and she is so honest.. She will say " You just called me _____. And you hurt my feelings. I don't think you love me"

They will then turn around and laugh at her, repeat her words in a horrible voice and tell her, well you ARE a _____

I know for a fact the husband is on probation for hitting his wife
I know for a fact that the husband does crank
I know for a fact him and his son smoke pot together
and I know for a fact the mother buys alcohol for the underage kids.

Sadly, i know too much.

So what do I do with this knowledge?
Call cps?

My only other option is to .. well. I guess butt out, but the problem is that I am not butting in.. I cant help I can hear everything.. (sigh)
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 08:00 am
Well you KNOW you have to report it.

Report it anonymously.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 08:20 am

That sounds pretty extreme.

Are you concerned that they would figure out that you had to be the person who reported it, based on your location/ ability to hear what's going on? Could it be someone from school, or other neighbors?
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 08:39 am
Have you had any guests at your home that might have overheard these things? Maybe they could make the initial report.

Could you go to the girl's school and talk to the principal about your concerns?

CPS can also save people from devistating families.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 09:22 am
I'm going to guess that you're concerned that CPS would either 1) take her away and land her in possibly a worse situation or 2) not take her away, but piss the parents off enough to escalate the abuse.

Do you know what school she goes to? Could you talk to someone there who might then take a closer look and hopefully also take the correct action?

Poor kid, jeez.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 09:39 am
I don't know where you are from, but most school systems have a counseling department that should be interested in what you have to say.
Another avenue would be to contact your neighbors parole officer anonymously about the goings on at the house, and obtain some temporary solace.
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Regular Poster
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 12:30 pm
My concerns -

number one- CPS will do nothing.

-They will KNOW who reported it and take any anger they have out on my family and my home.
I have access to a storage unit, and I think it will be ( how ever OVER cautious ) a good idea to store some things I can not afford to replace.

-CPS will TELL the family who called

-CPS will investigate, maybe find nothing, and the child will be subjected to even more abuse.

My concern with reporting it is that everything I tell CPS will be word for word their arguments, and recordings if I have to which will lead them directly to this apt building.
Since it is only me and one other person who are 'new enough' to be targets, ... if they figure it out, well. I wont even go there.

It has not crossed my mind to call the probation officer.
I happen to know an officer, I can talk to them about this. Thanks for that idea.

The last time I was concerned about these kids, the father was trying to beat his son with a shovel , chasing him into the street threatening his life.
Police were called, but did nothing..

I sent the boy a package filled with pamphlets of safe houses and resources if he ever decided to run away, or seek help, he would have those papers.
I don't know if that ever made it to him.

This little girl on the other hand is not 18.
She can not defend herself, nor can she care for herself.
If she is removed, she will be put into the system. The system may fail her, it may not.. but the chances of her being in a worse situation then having her own mother and father tell her she is a piece of ****, is pretty low. At least I hope so..

So, how do you go about reporting something like this?
Just call?

Should I take some recordings first?

I mean, I can literally place a tape recorder on my floor, in the middle of the living room, and get enough sound to be able to hear their conversations almost perfectly.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 12:52 pm
It would help me to know what country you are in, as I can only begin to help in the U.S. with any legalities.
Can you disclose this?
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:31 pm
I'd worry about the legalities of recording someone without their knowledge.

The school idea sounds good to me. Do you know where she goes to school?
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:34 pm
I found this:

The best first place to call to report suspected child abuse is:
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

Staffers at the hotline can help:

Victims: children and teens who have been abused
Survivors of child abuse
Abusers: people who have abused a child or who are afraid that they may abuse a child
Witnesses to child abuse
Childhelp cannot make a report of child abuse for you, but it can set up a three-way call with your local enforcement agency. You can also call your local enforcement agency directly to report child abuse. Childhelp has a list of local phone numbers you can call for your county or state in the U.S.

Reporting is anonymous. In most states, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.

Why don't you start by calling these people and asking for help?
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Regular Poster
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:40 pm
I have an idea of what school she may go to, but I am not 100% certain.

I am also not 100% certain of their last names, though I do not think that is an issue.

I will call that number.

Then, I will watch to see where she goes to school.
I have a couple of days off this week. I will also stop at her school and speak with someone there.

Thank you guys.
Very much.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:44 pm
You can record where you are at, that is not a problem. I doubt if it is admissable in court, but who wants to go to court. A recording will help the appropriate people listen to you. I would be careful due to the volatile nature of these folks, and your proximity to it.
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Regular Poster
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 01:51 pm
They are loud enough that I don't have to do anything out of the norm to catch their voices on tape.
I have done it before.

When using the video camera, you can hear them in the back ground.
I don't think that is considered snooping, or a way of illegally recording anyone.

And if it does go to court, well.. I don't think I would have to stand trial? ( at least not physically ) But, I doubt it will go that far as I refuse to be in that mess.. unless I absolutely have to.
but I wont go there .. just yet.

And if you want to get right down to it, the landlord is a wonderful person with a huge heart. He would help my family separate from this place if need be. He owns many properties.

But, again, they are way to close for comfort.

And, for the record, I am waiting until I am physically away from the apt to contact anyone.
No one is home downstairs right now ( that i can tell ) but, if I can hear them as clearly as I can with no effort, then what can they hear from us??

We will be leaving here in about an hour.

I will post back after the call with anything I may have learned.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 02:02 pm

I hope they can tell you what you need to know in order to feel safe about reporting what you know.

I glad to hear about the nice landlord too. If you do decide to report, you might want to call him and let him know what you've done so that he will have a heads up on it.

Keep us posted.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 02:30 pm
I'll clarify. You are completely within your rights to tape record them from your home. Nothing illegal at all about that.
Anything you record probably would not be able to be used in court against THEM.

Good Luck
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 02:36 pm

This isn't my area of expertise at all, but a quick search ("surreptitious recording" seems to be the phrase) seems to indicate that it's at least slightly a gray area. In my short search I didn't find anything definitive one way or the other (most of it was about phone conversations, and there seemed to be something about "reasonable expectation of privacy," as in being in a private apt. as opposed to out in a restaurant, for example).

Anyway, that phone number boomer found looks great, and I hope that gives you the answers you need, Regular Poster.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 02:41 pm
Phones are a whole different deal.
She would simply be recording what she is being FORCED to hear, or see from within her home.
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Regular Poster
Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 06:45 pm
I learned something interesting today.

You can report child abuse , online.. Confused

While i was holding , the message kept playing over and over again stressing that there was no wait if you choose reporting online.
The phone wait was over 15 minutes before I even got to make my selection about WHAT it was that I wanted to report.

About that time, I remembered what my friend does for a living.
She is a guidance counselor for abused and battered women.
So, a few bells went off in my head and I hung up with CPS constant recording and called her.

her game plan for me was to -
Call landlord
Start a written journal of dates, times and words
Call police (non emergency) and inform them of my plan to call cps and why
Stop talking to the family ( which is no issue as we don't speak beyond the polite hello when crossing paths)

So, I left the apt and called my landlord .
I sat in the car talking with him for almost an hour.

Im concerned with him and I will be seeing him again over the weekend to further discuss this problem.

He knows that they ( the family) are a mis-match to the building.
They have dead cars on blocks everywhere, they are loud, fighting.. all the things he doesn't want, but since they do not actually BREAK the lease in anyway, he has no ammo to move them.

I told him, that I was not calling him asking him to take action or to remove them from the premises. More just to keep him updated as to what is going on. Simply because if CPS jumps right in, and maybe removes the daughter, this might cause a financial hardship and they would have to leave.
I am asking nothing of him.
But he kept returning to what he could do to move them out.

I really left that conversation feeling like he was wanting to take action, but in the wrong way.
I don't want him to move them. Im not calling him to "file a complaint". I just think he should know about something like this.
Not to mention, if anything were to happen to us because of this phone call, I would want him to know as much as possible so that he could help us if need be.

He understood my reasoning, and gave me some information I needed but he made me really rethink calling.
I can not help but feel as though I am really over stepping my bounds.

The mother in this situation has no other real option for housing.
Since her husband is a felon, almost anyone who owns a rental property will say no. He keeps stealing from her, so her credit is extended beyond repair, and unless someone is willing to just rent to her sight unseen with out a background check, she has no where to go.

This call could make them homeless.

but, that is not my burden. She is a smart enough woman to know that she can leave this abusive husband, and she has not for many years.

but again, I am over thinking this situation.
I have filled out a complaint and sent it in via web.
But I am still going to call someone LIVE tomorrow.

Im just feeling really odd about this.
I don't question WHY im doing it, I just question the possible outcomes.

Worst case, she is NOT removed from the home, but other things happen and they are homeless, and she is subjected to even more abuse.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 07:01 pm
The why is no one else has, and real people should.
If everyone turned away and said, "oh it's none of my business" ...
Good for you, and good luck.
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Reply Mon 29 Oct, 2007 08:23 pm
I completely understand your angst. Truly I do.

I made "information" calls to every agency in the world at one point in my life. I was terrified.

Please don't doubt that you did the right thing. Maybe nothing happens this time -- but they are now on the radar.

Think about how scared you were.

Now think about how scary it must be to be nine years old and living in that house.


Talking to the landlord was also the right thing.


If you are a regular poster you might know my story. I know how hard it is to not turn your back. I know how how it can change your life when you do do something. I know how emotional abuse can damage a child.

I join Rockhead in the "good for you" chorus.
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