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Inapropriate Questioning

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Just been talking to my Brothers girlfriend who is due to have his baby in a couple of months and she was quite upset. Around lunch time a woman from the Government showed up at her door and stated she was there to do a routine check on her and my brother since they are expecting a child. She went on to talk her through the whole process of giving birth, hospital services etc but then it took a dark turn. She began asking questions about her sexual past, how close she is to my brother, if she has ever considered leaving him, is he abusive, how much does he drink etc. The questions got more and more intimate and were requiring more and more graphic answers. My brothers GF felt that the woman was extremely rude and felt she was trying to find dirt or flaws in her and/or my brother. She's quite disturbed by the questions asked and this has wound me up to be honest.

I've been googl'ing this and can't find anything on the net about such interviews. Is this standard for expecting couples? I never knew you had to go through such interviews. Can anyone really ask you if you are sexually satisfied or ask you to prove that you will be able to provide for the child once they arrive? It's all too invasive for my liking.

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What department did she represent? Did she have ID? Sounds odd.

I asked that myself and she can't remember exactly and the woman didn't leave any information other than some basic leaflets about the birthing process, child vaccinations etc. nothing with her name or Department on it.

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Just been talking to my Brothers girlfriend who is due to have his baby in a couple of months and she was quite upset. Around lunch time a woman from the Government showed up at her door and stated she was there to do a routine check on her and my brother since they are expecting a child. She went on to talk her through the whole process of giving birth, hospital services etc but then it took a dark turn. She began asking questions about her sexual past, how close she is to my brother, if she has ever considered leaving him, is he abusive, how much does he drink etc. The questions got more and more intimate and were requiring more and more graphic answers. My brothers GF felt that the woman was extremely rude and felt she was trying to find dirt or flaws in her and/or my brother. She's quite disturbed by the questions asked and this has wound me up to be honest.

I've been googl'ing this and can't find anything on the net about such interviews. Is this standard for expecting couples? I never knew you had to go through such interviews. Can anyone really ask you if you are sexually satisfied or ask you to prove that you will be able to provide for the child once they arrive? It's all too invasive for my liking.

This is from 2004

"A young woman, expecting her first baby, hears a knock at the door. She opens it, and the woman standing there says she is a health visitor, and can she come in? The woman asks why, and the health visitor says, "Just to see how you are". The woman says she's fine and doesn't need a health visitor, thank you. The health visitor replies, "If you don't let me in, I shall report you to Social Services."

The young woman is the daughter of an AIMS member, and an official complaint has been made. We've also suggested that she access her records - the health visitor has very likely put something on them - and this will almost certainly be recorded as a 'non-access' visit, a red flag for potential risk to children."

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I've been googl'ing this and can't find anything on the net about such interviews. Is this standard for expecting couples? I never knew you had to go through such interviews. Can anyone really ask you if you are sexually satisfied or ask you to prove that you will be able to provide for the child once they arrive? It's all too invasive for my liking.

I'm not suggesting this is definitely the case in this instance but there have been stories of fake health visitors going way, way back. I remember reading an article on the subject in the Fortean Times back in the 1980s.

Google 'fake health visitor' / 'bogus health visitor'.

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I'm not suggesting this is definitely the case in this instance but there have been stories of fake health visitors going way, way back. I remember reading an article on the subject in the Fortean Times back in the 1980s.

Google 'fake health visitor' / 'bogus health visitor'.

I knew it rang a bell, I've heard of that happening.

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It wasn't quite as in depth as you describe but they do try to get some of that stuff down pre-baby (this was a home midwife visit and then follow up sessions).

They also keep tabs on how many appointments the husband / partner bothers going to and will use opportunities to ask relationship things / abuse etc. I suppose.

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I know a few people personally where social services have investigated for bizarre reasons:

1) the mother had terminal cancer and social services argued the father and mother must therefore be under too much stress to be able to keep the children even though there was no evidence for this (turned out a care worker had reported them for having a bit of a disagreement with raised voices - apparently it was felt if one of the people involved has cancer this was unacceptable)

2) the mother was mildly bi-polar (with no history of violence or not taking her medication) and social services essentially argued that bi-polar parents should never be allowed to keep their children regardless of history or circumstance

In both cases social services were forced to back down eventually (I think solicitors were involved) but the harassment was really quite nasty at certain points. Personally I think that they were picking on people they felt were soft touches (lower middle class, steady employment, no history of violence or criminality) in order to look like they were meeting targets without having to actively engage with any of the real problem families that they should be focusing on because, frankly, those people scare the crap out of them.

No idea about the fake healthcare worker scam others have mentioned but social services can be totally unethical in their conduct and this does sound like exactly the kind of interview they do when they have had a tip off of some kind. Personally I would check with somewhere like the Citizens Advice Bureau as to whether or not your brother and his partner need to do anything about this or if it's likely to be a one off event that they shouldn't really worry about unless it's repeated. From a quick browse of the CAB site I can see that there is a one year time limits on complaints if they wanted to make one: http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/healthcare_e/healthcare_nhs_healthcare_e/nhs_and_local_authority_social_services_complaints.htm

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Busy bodies have always existed. My mum used to hate the intrusion of a regular visit from some local nurse because I had round shoulders FFS. Can't say I was too impressed as a kid either. I'd never do the exercises and just go out and play instead.

Of course, in some respects the busy bodies can't win either as you can guarantee some lying abusing scum will end up killing their kid before someone in authority realises there was a problem. I guess like most of us, they do their best.

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It wasn't quite as in depth as you describe but they do try to get some of that stuff down pre-baby (this was a home midwife visit and then follow up sessions).

They also keep tabs on how many appointments the husband / partner bothers going to and will use opportunities to ask relationship things / abuse etc. I suppose.

Yes, this is 'normal' during pre-natal contact.

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Busy bodies have always existed. My mum used to hate the intrusion of a regular visit from some local nurse because I had round shoulders FFS. Can't say I was too impressed as a kid either. I'd never do the exercises and just go out and play instead.

Of course, in some respects the busy bodies can't win either as you can guarantee some lying abusing scum will end up killing their kid before someone in authority realises there was a problem. I guess like most of us, they do their best.

you could always get a rucksack, rather than a shoulder man-bag!

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Mine are a bit older (15) so we missed this sort of nonsense.

But - how do the inspectors know that a woman is pregnant and to come round in their jackboots? The only people to know Mrs JTB was pregnant was her doctor and her midwife (well, and me). Surely the quack can't breach confidentiality?

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Reminds me of John Connor. Did the visitor look like they'd come back from the future?

They wipe people's memories with special flashy things so we'll never know.

One odd thing about some of the reported bogus cases is that the Health Visitors in Black sometimes reportedly work in pairs

e.g.

POLICE are looking for two bogus health workers who arrived at a house in Penicuik, Midlothian, claiming they needed to examine a child living there. The child's 42-year-old mother answered the door and was shown what appeared to be an identification card.

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Sounds like Rosemary's Baby.

Has she been impregnated by the anti-Christ?

Probably a good idea not to christen the baby 'Damien'

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Just been talking to my Brothers girlfriend who is due to have his baby in a couple of months and she was quite upset. Around lunch time a woman from the Government showed up at her door and stated she was there to do a routine check on her and my brother since they are expecting a child. She went on to talk her through the whole process of giving birth, hospital services etc but then it took a dark turn. She began asking questions about her sexual past, how close she is to my brother, if she has ever considered leaving him, is he abusive, how much does he drink etc. The questions got more and more intimate and were requiring more and more graphic answers. My brothers GF felt that the woman was extremely rude and felt she was trying to find dirt or flaws in her and/or my brother. She's quite disturbed by the questions asked and this has wound me up to be honest.

I've been googl'ing this and can't find anything on the net about such interviews. Is this standard for expecting couples? I never knew you had to go through such interviews. Can anyone really ask you if you are sexually satisfied or ask you to prove that you will be able to provide for the child once they arrive? It's all too invasive for my liking.

Suspicious, especially if unannounced, with the caveat that I only have experience of my local authority (Cheshire West & Chester) in the recent history as my wife gave birth in October. I'd get her to call her usual point of contact and ask whether this is known practice, and if it is not, the police should be informed. The most important thing of course is that she remains calm and relaxed.

Looking back through the calendar which logged all the appointments we had in the run up to the birth, I can see that we only had 1 home visit prior to the birth, and this was prearranged with a midwife(who was the person who visited us) from the local children's centre which is the place we had attended my wife's regular appointments(barring 12 &20 week scans at the local hospital or the odd blood tests/vaccination at hospital or GP surgery) throughout the pregnancy. My wife's pregnancy was uncomplicated until near the end so perhaps the appointments we had were the bare minimum, but we never had an unannounced caller, nor was any such behaviour hinted at. After the birth there were any number of visitors to the home ranging from midwifes, health visitors, district nurse, but all of these were prearranged and although the midwifery personnel present regularly changed as a result of the on-call shift patterns(if the person was on call the night prior and was called in, a colleague would take over their responsibilities for the day), the times were always adhered to, everyone had ID and knew what the score was. In short, there was no reason to suspect there was any foul play.

The health visitor took my wife through a questionnaire a few weeks after birth. Parts of this were related to symptoms of depression but a section was about relationship issues, including potential abuse etc. The health visitor was quite open about the fact I could stay in the room if I wanted, but I excused myself just because it felt right. Essentially it was a rundown of the sort of stuff you might expect under a general duty of care to the child, according to my wife. It seemed to be regarded as a bit of boxticking over a cuppa in our case, in line with the rest of the questions.

I got the impression however, in the appointments I attended, and doubtless your brother and brother's partner has also noticed, that the system is geared up to (potentially several?) different streams regarding how the midwife perceives the people in attendance (I make no judgements btw). On a couple of the appointments I felt that they were used to dealing with people who lead chaotic lives. E.g. my missus was asked to give a breath test at our first appointment apparently as a guard against potential CO poisoning from the central heating system; I think the real reason is that the midwife didn't believe her when she said she was a non-smoker. Also there was some really basic stuff about healthy eating and not boozing etc. Bigging up breastfeeding etc. Basic stuff.

In short I'd suggest that your brother's girlfriend should remain calm and call her midwife to explore the possibility of such a visit being genuine.

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Sounds very odd. Just had our second little Miyagi and all visits are booked and announced and no questions such as described by the o.p were asked.

Always ask for I.D, most Government/Local Authority procedures dictate that I.D badges are worn at all times, if no appointment is made then refuse entry to your home and/or check the person is who they say they are before allowing them access.

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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll call her when she's finished work and pass on the advice given. I spoke to my brother about it over the phone this morning and he says he's gonna see someone about it when he gets back from working away.

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Thanks everyone for your responses. I'll call her when she's finished work and pass on the advice given. I spoke to my brother about it over the phone this morning and he says he's gonna see someone about it when he gets back from working away.

The police I hope!

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I would assume that the SS are "investigating" because the couple do not seem to be married. They have been told to look for every tiny bit of evidence of abuse/domestic violence to get their conviction rates up; after all, we are told that every other man is an abuser, or something like that. That's why questions like "Does he raise his voice at you sometimes" - this is on the list of prosecutable DV nowadays.

Let us all know what happens - if it was a genuine social worker.

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I would assume that the SS are "investigating" because the couple do not seem to be married. They have been told to look for every tiny bit of evidence of abuse/domestic violence to get their conviction rates up; after all, we are told that every other man is an abuser, or something like that. That's why questions like "Does he raise his voice at you sometimes" - this is on the list of prosecutable DV nowadays.

Let us all know what happens - if it was a genuine social worker.

There is definitely some of this around DV, but there is also still a great deal of reluctance to deal with the actually violent.

Two people I know have been in actual DV situations and there was a distinct lack of inclination by the authorities to deal with the violent party: one was a woman who was repeatedly and severely assaulted by her partner, left him but the assaults continued with a side order of breaking an entering, despite witnesses and hospital documentation police repeatedly refused to do anything (in my presence they literally told her that it was her fault for breaking up with the guy) until after over a year of these regular assaults later the same guy assaults a police officer and suddenly they felt able to arrest him for the first time and successefully prosecute him for all of the previous assaults against her; in the second it was the husband who has been repeatedly attacked and hospitalised but the police keep going after him instead of his wife (SS haven't bothered with it at all despite there being kids involved) which is both demonising the man and failing to deal with the violent individual.

Having said that I have met a few people in these professions who do have very good ethics and work hard to do the right thing but you can't assume that these are the people you will be dealing with. In fact it seems best to assume that noone in a position of authority has any grasp of ethics at all, that way you won't be disappointed and you might, if you're very lucky, get a nice surprise.

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I often drop in on random women and tell them that I am a Council Gynaecologist.

I wear a peaked cap and dayglo jacket with "C*** Inspector" written on them. Works a treat.

You really are quite naughty Mr Renter.

Please complete my mental image of your inspection duties by telling me that you introduce yourself with some sort of Carry-On style name like Doctor Seymour Flaps when they open the door...

XYY

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