Two of my favourite bloggers, Being Brazen and Elizabeth, have both given me a nice award, which makes me very chuffed and I will certainly post about it next week. Elizabeth says I make her giggle, which I'm glad of, but today I'm going to write a very serious post.
My neighbours have taken it one step too far this time. We have put up with their screaming matches, wondering the whole time whether he was beating her or the kids. We have also put up with feeding and loving their cat, which they have completely abandoned. But last night, for the first time, they gave us proof that they are more than just nasty neighbours - they are criminals.
As I was dishing up supper at about 19.15, we heard a child screaming its lungs out, so we went outside to investigate. There was blood all over the corridor, and the screaming was coming from inside their flat. I wanted to call the police, but TSC went straight to their door and starting bashing on it. Eventually, after much shouting, the father came to the door and TSC demanded to know what was going on. The guy wouldn't let him see past him into the house and started making all the usual excuses - the kid slipped and knocked his head etc.
TSC kept pushing and telling him to bring the kid out so he could see if he was ok, and the guy stalled until his wife (who is the one who hit the kid) had washed the blood off the kid's face, telling TSC that the child (who is eight years old) is a psychopath, that he shoplifts and tried to poison them and that they're trying to get social services involved to help them with this "problem". He also said that the kid says his grandmother "touches" him, but they don't believe him. Five minutes later, he says that the kid is mentally unstable because he was molested for five years.
Eventually, the wife drags the kid out. His face is blue on one side and there are fingermark bruises all down one arm. TSC asks the kid if his mother hit him. The kid won't look at him, but shakes his head - no. TSC gets down on his haunches, looks the kid in the eyes, and says, "Please tell me the truth." The kid nods his head - yes. The mother then begins yelling at TSC saying that they don't want their kid, he's a piece of rubbish, they want to get rid of him and they'll pay us to take him away, he's just costing them money. All of this in front of her child.
While this was all happening, I had called emergency services and asked them to send the police. They took down my details and promised that a car would be around. This was at 19.30. For the next hour, we forgot about dinner while this man tried to talk his way out of the situation, saying that he realises things get out of hand sometimes (his wife packs her stuff and threatens to leave him on a regular basis after his verbal (and probably physical) abuse), but that they are trying, and with all due respect, we're not parents so we can't understand etc, etc.
I called for the police again at 20.15. Then again at 21.10. When we eventually went to bed at 11.30 after waiting for four hours, they had still not arrived. Apparently they came after midnight, when the child was in bed, and just took a statement from the parents. What help is that? Like they told the truth! Fortunately, our other neighbours (the nice ones) and TSC had ensured that the kid was safe. Had none of us intervened, who knows how far it would have gone.
I finish work early today and will be going straight to the police station to file a report. I will also be writing to the newspapers. It is simply unacceptable that in a situation where a child is at risk, so little is done. I cannot handle abuse of children and animals. It makes me shake with rage because they have no choice, no power to fight back.