help just kinda says it all
March 5, 2009 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Awful freaking mess at work. Arrest, abuse, drugs and gossip. so much more inside

Teenage girl confesses to my coworker that mom is abusing her. Coworker flippantly gives her a prescription pill (his own) and tells her "maybe your mom needs this." Girl goes to another coworker, who doesn't know about the abuse, with the pill to ask for advice. That person goes to the mom. Mom has coworker 1 arrested. He's screwed, forget him. I am afraid that this girl is still being abused, but now it's all about the coworker with the drugs; for sure this mother latched onto that to obfuscate the abuse issue.

Neither the girl, nor my boss, nor either other coworker knows that I know about the abuse. The boss is indifferent at best, incompetent at middle and complicit (with the mom) at worst. I am afraid of this mom. I cannot let on that I know about this without jeopardising my job, furthermore, it's all hearsay (but very credible hearsay knowing this mother).

How can I get this girl some help?
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Er... forgetting that it's not clear why this troubled teenage girl is hanging around your place of work... look up and print out contact info for a crisis center in your area. Slip that info to her either in person or anonymously if possible.

I wouldn't say much if anything other than, "I understand things may be tough right now. These professionals may be able to help."

Then run away... seriously, keep your head down. It sounds like a very screwed up environment.
posted by wfrgms at 8:23 PM on March 5, 2009

You can always make a tip to local child protective services.
posted by gryftir at 8:26 PM on March 5, 2009 [6 favorites]

Can you please follow up with one of the mods to provide some information about the relationship of the teenage girl in question to your workplace? Is she a customer? A co-worker? What kind of work or services does your company provide to people? This information is really important if we are to suggest advice that is relevant to the situation.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:26 PM on March 5, 2009

Mom has coworker 1 arrested.

So there is a police report, and an investigating officer for the (tangentially related) drug crime.

That's your avenue. That's who you need to be talking to if your goal is to actually help here, rather than adding to the gossip drama at work. Police officers can follow trails to other crimes if they come across them in their unrelated investigations, and in this case (the abuse being a bigger crime than the prescription pill) I believe they are likely to do so.
posted by rokusan at 8:27 PM on March 5, 2009

If you give this girl some info in person, you run the risk of her discussing it with someone else and possibly getting her mother involved which sounds like your worst nightmare. I would simply tell the girl if she ever needs help, that you are willing to help her get it. Do not put it in writing, but just tell her quietly.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:29 PM on March 5, 2009

I have some contact through work with the statutory child protection authority in my State. They run a helpline to which you can make confidential, or if necessary, anonymous, reports of abuse/risk of abuse, and child protection caseworkers employed to follow up reports of this kind. In many situations such as the one it sounds like you've described, other government agencies like the police are obliged to make reports of their own.
If you have reason to believe this young woman is being abused, then you ought to report it. If you have reason to believe that your boss is complicit in the abuse of a child, then you ought to report it.
Whether you have a child protection helpline depends on where you live, however. If it's Australia, mefi mail me.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 8:44 PM on March 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

Gather all the info you have, written down, in front of you before you call.

This link leads to phone numbers for all 50 states in the united states.

Canadian provinces info

You can call the Childhelp hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD® (1-800-422-4453) in the united states, and it's anonymous, toll-free, and they can give you local numbers.

I'll include the three biggest US states states for good measure:

New York
TDD: (800) 369-2437
Toll-Free: (800) 342-3720
Local (toll): (518) 474-8740

Toll-Free: (800) 252-5400

Click on the website above for information on reporting or call Childhelp® (800-422-4453) for assistance.
posted by gryftir at 9:06 PM on March 5, 2009 [8 favorites]

I was just wondering : doesn't the fact that you know of the abuse make you a partner in that crime ? (I don't want to frighten you at all, it's just that in France, one can be prosecuted on these grounds : it's called non-denonciation - and there's more, on the same basis, your boss may fire you ). Provided it's all hearsay, I don't think that you fall in this category anyway. At any rate, gryftir's advice seems pretty sensible.
posted by nicolin at 12:49 AM on March 6, 2009

From the original poster:
It's an after school sports program. My coworkers and I are all coaches there. @nicolin: That I now know about this, even if it is just hearsay (or gossip take your pick) about the abuse yes makes me complicit, that's why I'm looking for info on how to help.

Anyway, thanks everyone for the great links.
posted by mathowie at 7:28 AM on March 7, 2009

« Older McGarrigles French Record Lyrics?   |   Free online collection of avant-garde classical... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.