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What would you do?

Community Member

I have a friend who has a chronic mental illness.

Multiple psych admissions, unable to work for 10 years.

She has this amazing husband but their 13 year old son claims they are in a domestic violence situation.

He claims that when my friend is not looking her husband/father physically abuses him. 

My friend has never seen evidence of this. But she’s torn. She wants to believe her son but also knows any mention of it - with her mental illness- risks foster care.

I have my own mental illness & my own family to deal with & I feel overwhelmed my how I can help her?

3 Replies 3

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi. It sounds like a challenging situation for you to be in, knowing what to do. I would say that DV needs to be taken seriously and perhaps if you are unsure you could call one of the DV helplines for some advice in your state. Or your friend might be able to?

I don't know much about the foster situation you mentioned. Or what possibilities exist to manage this.

My last comment is that how a person might appear in public can be different in private.

I am of course assuming the child is telling the truth and you believe him, which is reasonable. What is the cost of doing nothing?

I hope you got something out of my reply.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Jane, if the son is saying that DV is happening, especially when no one is watching then perhaps it has to be considered and his mother may be at a stage where foster care can be avoided if she has been able to show an improvement, but this may be difficult to prove if she is being controlled by the husband unless there are signs of physical abuse.

One avenue to approach is by contacting 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 and the son can contact Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 either by phone, webchat or online, but what he has said is serious and needs to be investigated before anything worse comes to light.

This whole situation needs attention, simply because his wife may be feeling the way she is, because of how she has been treated and if they were to separate, her condition may vastly improve.

Please let us know what happens.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JaneC76

This is such a tough situation for you and my heart truly goes out to you.

What comes to mind is one of those Nanny Cams. If the 13yo son has reported domestic violence and he's reaching out for someone to help him, the fact of the matter is he's reaching out, he's put all his trust in someone to rescue him. You could simply take it one step at a time. Perhaps consider the Nanny Cam and if nothing shows up to be of any concern, over a period of time, this could give you a sense of direction regarding the way forward. If something does show up to be of deep concern, then that becomes a whole other matter. Imagine if deeply concerning events did show up, I imagine you would naturally feel compelled to pull this young man out of the house. If this was the case, I wonder who could apply to take him in, without him going into the foster care system. Not exactly sure how it all works. If something did show up and you were the one who this boy trusted, you then become the most trustworthy person in his life and that is not a bad thing.