As matters of family abuse are a community concern, authorities need to be consulted and it must be done carefully to see not only does the abuse stop but where necessary appropriate action is taken to remove those affected from future danger. The administrative head teacher after listening to Nancy’s report sighed. They’d had one or two cases like this to deal with before and even though they knew for certain abuse was taking place were unable to get the cooperation of family members in admitting that abuse was happening. Yes, they’d evidence of bruises and admission on the part of the child his stepfather had been the cause in that case if parents insisted together he’d received these bruises from other causes there could be no case and therefor no remedy. The law is a funny thing at times. Should the school have been the cause of complaint to authorities and no case could be established those who sought justice for the child could find themselves in legal hot water.
So, the administrative head requested Nancy pay another visit to the home and report on Virgilio’s progress to see if there was any chance Dalisay would give an indication of willingness to testify against her husband. This had implications needing to be considered. What would be Dalisay’s immigration status if she decided to cooperate and where would she go and who’d support her in the event of a separation?
Nancy was horrified at the suggestion. She was beginning to feel uncomfortable at Sven’s daily meeting in the car park and his attempts to engage her in conversation. It was beginning to press alarm buttons. She saw through his charm and saw him for what he was, a womaniser. She wanted no part in that and feared her visit to the home could possibly be misinterpreted. She wondered how Sven had the time to deliver his stepson to school each day. Did he not have work and if so did that mean he’d be home when the visit was to occur? This had to be sorted out before she’d agree to another visit.
So next day while she was moving around the class checking on each of her students as they worked on their assignments privately she stopped at Virgilio’s desk and asked him casually what kind of work his father did. He reported Sven worked as a security officer for a company. His shift was from noon to midnight. Nancy relaxed, perhaps she’d agree to a meeting after school with Dalisay. But that raised another question. If Sven delivered Virgilio to school each morning, how did he get home of an afternoon after school? She asked Virgilio that at recess time and he indicated arrangements had been made for a neighbour whose children also attended the school to take him home. It now sounded safe so Nancy agreed to make the visit next afternoon after school. She’d meet the woman after school and offer to take Virgilio home instead as she was making a routine visit to the parents to discuss their son’s progress. Best not to make the arrangements beforehand.
So, the next afternoon Nancy waited with Virgilio and the neighbour woman’s child until Cheryl Baxter appeared to pick the children up. Cheryl was surprised but shrugged and agreed. It was unusual for teachers to take a personal interest to meet in parent’s homes. That usually took place at school and Cheryl wondered why this special interest, specially seeing she’d never had a visit from teachers herself.
Virgilio was beside himself with joy as he ran to the front door and let himself in yelling to his mother he was home. She appeared unsteadily from the bedroom and Nancy gasped in surprise. She ran to Dalisay’s side and helped her into a chair. The woman had obviously been beaten badly and moved with difficulty. Dalisay sobbed as Nancy sat her down. Nancy reached for her cell phone and dialled 911 while Dalisay wearily tried to stop her. She called for paramedics and gave the address describing as best she could the injuries and urging them to hurry. Then she turned to Dalisay.
“How long has this been going on Dalisay?”
Virgilio clung to Nancy’s leg in fear. “He’s always hitting her but not this bad. I’m scared Miss Nancy!”
Nancy picked up her phone again and punched in her parent’s number. She’d explained the situation quickly and asked if she could bring a boy and his mother to stay temporarily in their granny flat then looking at Dalisay again she corrected herself it would only be a boy, the mother obviously needed hospital care so perhaps she could handle it herself. She was about to press the stop call button on her cell phone when the door opened, and they all turned expecting the paramedics had arrived.
“Well, what do we have here? Just as well Cheryl called to find out if it was OK for you to take Virgilio home. I thought you may wish to have me here for the interview too!” It was Sven putting on his charm, but underneath that charm was a dangerous undertone.
To be continued.
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