Over a year ago, our neighbour's wife and kids escaped him. We and a few community members facilitated this, including finding a place for them to stay while they waited for a shelter, funding them in spending money, paying for the divorce lawyer, and much more.
In addition to a civil divorce creeping forward, there are criminal proceedings. The police officer responsible for the case described it as among the worst cases of abuse he'd seen in his lengthy career.

We've been continuing to support this family, since.
The family is an immigrant family, and the man and woman from two different countries. She's educated, but has poor English and has not worked in Canada. He's a tradesperson and has better English.

Before the separation our children played together.
We built a gate in our backyard fence so that the little ones could go back and forth as they wished and put a lion door knocker on it.
We gave a deposition on behalf of the woman and her children last year as the criminal case moved forward. At the time, the officer was pleased and surprised: people almost never do this, he said, they're too scared.

We professed not to be. But we were uncomfortable.
Over a year has passed. He didn't have a lawyer, so proceedings were delayed. Then COVID struck and the March court date was delayed further. In the meantime, her time in the shelter is running out and she has no income and no safe place to go.
He's still our neighbour, but now the car (of which he used to remove the tires every day after using it so she couldn't use it) is on blocks in the yard and a second junker was on the road with a flat tire. Our only interaction was when a contractor working for us parked
in front of his makeshift driveway (where the car is on blocks). He complained to us because we were blocking the driveway... but really because that's where he parks his work van. I'm not sure the company for which he works understands that it's his only means of transportation.
In a fit of frustration, after learning that he hadn't paid any of the child support required of him, my wife called parking enforcement. The car that had sat for >6 months with a flat tire got towed. It was a mistake.

He came home from work later that day and didn't return.
Today, he rang the doorbell. My teenage child, who was alone, didn't answer. When we returned, he confronted me on the front lawn and told me that if I wasn't a good neighbour, he "will kick my ass". As he continued to be verbally abusive, shrugging off his coat, advancing
onto the property, my wife called 911, we went inside, and a neighbour came across the street and took him inside. It became clear that he was drunk. He was yelling that I had stolen his family away from him.

I have a doorbell cam that caught it all. I wasn't at my best, either.
There are so many things that are wrong here and sad.

I want his family safe and they're not. I want them to be able to have money, and they don't.

I want him to have the help he needs. I want the court system to support his family by enforcing child support -- he works FT.
And selfishly, I don't want him as a neighbour, threatening me. I don't want my children in tears and afraid. I don't want my wife afraid.

And I don't want to deal with what's coming down over the next months as we manage a situation that is just terrible.
I feel like we did the right thing. Possibly saved some lives. Hopefully gave a future some some children and a woman.

But now I’m scared.

And we are afraid to leave the house to run errands.
We sent the kids to school by snuggling them out the back door and into the car in the garage. And now we are sitting here, waiting for the call to file the police report.

And a little lost.
And this is how abusers work. I’m not going to cause any more municipal challenges for this man. Because it’s not worth the fear and risk to my family. So the junk cars will stay on his lawn. And his van will continue to block my driveway.
But maybe we’ll be safe and he’ll find another target.
Thank you all for the outpouring of support for the family still in the shelter. They've been extended for a year to our relief, but do need help. I'll be sure to post when we figure out the best way to do so.

And we still haven't heard from the police.

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