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Thread: When to step in - domestic violence

  1. #1

    Unhappy When to step in - domestic violence

    So, I live in a row of houses (each house except the ends shares two walls with other homes) and I only have one adjacent neighbor that moved in a month or so ago. I had never met her before today and knew nothing about her and anyone else living there as I work about 13 hours a day and have only even seen her going into the house once.

    Today I heard a lot of screaming, thumping, and banging through the walls. I have a couple kids (in another state right now, but that's another story) and when they throw major temper tantrums, it's exactly what it sounds like. That's exactly what I thought it was... until she knocked on my door in tears asking to use the phone to call the police.

    It turns out that her wife (we live in a state where gay marriage is legal) was beating and choking and slamming her into the walls. They had a major fight and she locked her out of the house and took off. Obviously I let her come in and use the phone. She left with the police after they came. I assume to go file statements and other paperwork. They didn't talk to me at all.

    My question is, did I do the right thing by ignoring the sounds to begin with? Keep in mind that I just thought it was a young child throwing a fit.

  2. #2

    Default

    Always a tough situation, I do believe you did what you thought was right, how were you supposed to know what was going on? You did go on to do the right thing anyway by helping your neighbor to call the police.

    I guess now you know for future reference if there is ever loud banging and screaming again, it is not a small child and you may want to call the police.

    I had a kind of similar situation awhile back, where a friend phoned me saying her ex was harassing her, but she didn't want to call the police, but she was afraid for her and her child's life. Even though she didn't want me to, I called the police. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it is better to be safe, use your best judgement in these situations and if you feel like something is not right, then don't hesitate to call for help.

  3. #3

    Default

    Don't ignore it you may just save her life , it's happened to many times in the uk where domestic abuse has been ignored and either partner has killed the other

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by FauxPas View Post
    I guess now you know for future reference if there is ever loud banging and screaming again, it is not a small child and you may want to call the police.
    That's true. I don't know what the situation will become like now, and nobody ever wants to get involved, but I can call the police if I ever hear more over there.

  5. #5

    Default

    It was a learning experience, no doubt. I believe that anytime we have a suspicion that there may be violence around us, it is our responsibility to report it to the proper authorities. It is up to the police to determine if there is violence in the household, and they will press charges where warranted. If it turns out that there is no evidence of violence or it was a misunderstanding, you're still better off not to have taken any chances.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MolicareMan View Post
    So, I live in a row of houses (each house except the ends shares two walls with other homes) and I only have one adjacent neighbor that moved in a month or so ago. I had never met her before today and knew nothing about her and anyone else living there as I work about 13 hours a day and have only even seen her going into the house once.

    Today I heard a lot of screaming, thumping, and banging through the walls. I have a couple kids (in another state right now, but that's another story) and when they throw major temper tantrums, it's exactly what it sounds like. That's exactly what I thought it was... until she knocked on my door in tears asking to use the phone to call the police.

    It turns out that her wife (we live in a state where gay marriage is legal) was beating and choking and slamming her into the walls. They had a major fight and she locked her out of the house and took off. Obviously I let her come in and use the phone. She left with the police after they came. I assume to go file statements and other paperwork. They didn't talk to me at all.

    My question is, did I do the right thing by ignoring the sounds to begin with? Keep in mind that I just thought it was a young child throwing a fit.
    MolicareMan,

    People with violent tendencies can be quite unpredictable... so, you still have to make a bit of a judgment decision on how to handle each case...

    Many jurisdictions will have a non-emergency number that you can call to report a possible domestic disturbance; if you're not sure enough to call "911" for an actual domestic assault... also, calling your building Manager is another option.

    Having grown up in a rather constant domestic abuse environment myself; I had a bit of the opposite reaction... any yelling, screaming, or banging around put me on full alert for genuine violence...

    At any rate... you helped when you knew it was needed... I think that's all that can be reasonably done!

    Thank you,
    -Marka

  7. #7

    Default

    As a former police cadet I think that calling the police was probably the proper action. The victim most likely will press charges and the suspect will be arrested and possibly not allowed near her again.

  8. #8

    Default



    Quote Originally Posted by MolicareMan View Post
    So, I live in a row of houses (each house except the ends shares two walls with other homes) and I only have one adjacent neighbor that moved in a month or so ago. I had never met her before today and knew nothing about her and anyone else living there as I work about 13 hours a day and have only even seen her going into the house once.

    Today I heard a lot of screaming, thumping, and banging through the walls. I have a couple kids (in another state right now, but that's another story) and when they throw major temper tantrums, it's exactly what it sounds like. That's exactly what I thought it was... until she knocked on my door in tears asking to use the phone to call the police.

    It turns out that her wife (we live in a state where gay marriage is legal) was beating and choking and slamming her into the walls. They had a major fight and she locked her out of the house and took off. Obviously I let her come in and use the phone. She left with the police after they came. I assume to go file statements and other paperwork. They didn't talk to me at all.

    My question is, did I do the right thing by ignoring the sounds to begin with? Keep in mind that I just thought it was a young child throwing a fit.
    know this;
    in Washington State, if the police are responding to a domestic disturbance call, they are required to remove one or both parties from the scene. which after having been party to several such scenes myself, i think is a very good thing indeed. i remember when such was not the case in washington state.....

    in effect, always call, and then let the authorities sort it out. often times, the victim of domestic violence doesn't even understand that they are a victim and need help, until they receive counseling. calling the police can start the ball rolling on that process...

  9. #9
    acorn

    Default

    I would not say that the OP did anything wrong, though he could have been more vigilant for any happenings that fall outside the established norm's from his neighbours. Since the neighbour is normally quiet the unprecedented noise might have aroused suspicions or curiosity worthy of investigation.

    I would also suggest to the OP, to exercise extreme caution when investigating suspicions of, or intervening in such disputes. I have one friend who tackled a male as he was severely beating his wife around the head and upper body....he was actually kicking her as she lay upon the ground. A scuffle ensued with the perpetrator, in the midst of this the wife removed her shoe and hit my friend on the back of his head, he had to get sixteen stiches to close the wound - some reward for trying to be a knight in shining armour.

    My own personal experience; I regularly used to have to phone the police for one of my immediate neighbours....domestic violence. Subsequently one time I phoned, for I needed them myself. When they did turn up - I mentioned that five weeks had lapsed since the call was made, I was told - they were here on a different matter entirely. The moral here, is to ensure that the police do not become desensitised and indifferent to your calls. Make a point of liaising with them every time they answer your call - to receive clues as to how they are thinking with respect to your constant calls to them.

    From all the above posts there are pieces of good advice, from each and every one you will be able to take something. Do note until the victim decides they have had enough and follows through from A to Z, there is not a lot....constructively....anybody can do. Unfortunately - innocence dies hard, you will know a little better the next time.

  10. #10

    Default

    After you now it actually is domestic abuse, you should step in. But if you don't know if it's domestic abuse, and you try to step in... Well, let's just say it could turn into a really awkward situation... :P

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