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Ask Eliza – “I Saw My Neighbour’s Boyfriend Driving with Her 5-Year-Old in His Lap”

Ask Eliza – “I Saw My Neighbour’s Boyfriend Driving with Her 5-Year-Old in His Lap”

Dear Eliza,

I have a problem and I need some advice please. Today I saw my neighbour’s boyfriend drive into their driveway with her 5-year-old daughter in his lap, ‘helping him’ drive the car.

We often hear him shouting at her children, and he seems like a volatile man. I don’t want to get her in any trouble with him, and I don’t want to get involved myself. But clearly this is not on. It happened at around 5pm so it looks like he’s picked her up from their local daycare centre in the neighbouring suburb. I hope they didn’t drive the whole way home like that, but at the very least they drove into our street with her unrestrained in the drivers seat on his lap.

I am not close with her and don’t have the kind of relationship to pull her aside and let her know. Maybe she is cool with it? I don’t know that either. I feel like I need to do something, but I really don’t want to get involved, and I know my husband will absolutely lose his shit if I do get involved. He is a firm believer in minding our own business and this is very much the opposite of that. 

So what do I do?

{Casey, Toowoomba, QLD}

That’s a tough one, Casey. I feel for you on this one and can see how you’re stuck in a position where you don’t want to get involved, but feel the need to do something, anything, to keep this little girl safe.

It is never okay to allow a child to sit on your lap when driving. Ever. I am shocked that he lacked any kind of awareness as to how unsafe it actually is. What if she had slid down to his feet? What if he got in an accident? The implications of an action so irresponsibly unsafe make me angry at his sheer stupidity. Does he not care about his girlfriend’s children at all? Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

I am actually a mandatory reporter so if I had seen this behaviour happen for myself, I have an obligation to report it legally. I would make a diary note, then leave an anonymous call to the authorities in your state (contact details below). They may not act on each and every tip, but they keep a file and act if a pattern appears of ‘casual neglect’ or abuse.

Perhaps give them a call. Even if an incident seems small they can use it to build evidence and a pattern of abuse or neglect. It can be a symptom of a much bigger problem. You can remain anonymous and it will never be tied back to you.

Moving forward, I would recommend keeping an eye on your neighbours, but not get directly involved. Continue to make notes and phone calls if something like this happens again but don’t go all Mrs Mangle on them. No peering over the fence or anything. Play it cool, but keep an eye out. Be alert but not alarmed and all that.

Best of luck, and thanks for your email.

If you have a reason to suspect a child is experiencing harm, or is at risk of experiencing harm, you can report your concerns to the relevant authorities in your state:

Queensland – Child Safety Services – Contact details here
New South Wales – Child Protection Helpline 132 111
Victoria – Child Protection 13 12 78
South Australia – Child Abuse Report Line 131 478
Tasmania – Child Protection Services 1300 737 639 
Western Australia – Department for Child Protection – Contact details here
Northern Territory – Child Protection 1800 700 250
Australian Capital Territory – Child and Youth Protection Services 1300 556 729

 

What do you think? Would you follow this advice too?

If you have a question for Eliza, send it to her at [email protected]

 

Ask Eliza

Ask Eliza

Wise beyond her years, Eliza is THE lady to ask if you are in need of some advice for your relationship issues. She is sassy, opinionated, and ever-so smart, and has all the answers you’ll ever need. Want Eliza to answer your relationship problem? No questions are too sexy or tricky for Eliza to help! Send her an email at [email protected]

2 comments

  1. Definitely wouldn’t confront the neighbours boyfriend or her about this – definitely do what Eliza has suggested and write down what you have seen, including the date and approximate time.
    And I would also consider making an anonymous call to the relevant authority which Eliza gave too.
    It’s not ok what you saw and is not responsible.

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