Tuesday, May 25, 2010

help wanted: how to form a police wife/partner support group

I got an email from a police officer in the UK that is interested in forming a police wife/partner group where she is. Here is an excerpt of the email:
I am a serving Police Officer in the UK.
I have recently returned to work after almost 11 months off on Maternity leave and during this time I came up with the idea of starting a support group or organisation for police wives and partners here in the UK.
You will be surprised to find that although there are a number of organisations over in the USA there is nothing here in the UK to offer advice, help or support to wives and partners of Police Officers and support staff - I want to change that.
Any advice you can give me at all would honestly be greatly appreciated.
I was surprised to learn that there isn't a support system in place for spouses and partners there. I also have no idea how one would go about beginning a group, but I know some of you do. Since I have no idea, I'm hoping that some of you can help, and I can just lead her here to the comments when I respond to her email. This was the very important question I was referring to yesterday. Also, did you notice she said 11 months of maternity leave?! Wow.


Anonymous said...

I'm not an LEO partner or relative, but my first thought would be to go to meetup.com for the UK at http://www.meetup.com/cities/gb/

There, she can start a group, and hopefully people will join from her area. I would also think there would be organizations like Junior League or the equivalent where she could go and try to work with active volunteers in the community to get the word out that she wants to start such a group.

Those are my best ideas. What a great thing that you are helping start a movement around the world to get support for those of you who support these public servants!! :)

Anonymous said...

Have you tried seeing if one of the Admins for support groups like EBTB or NPWA can help. I think they would be perfect for finding out how exactly to start something up.

Jackie said...


But how long do you get in the US?
Canada gets 1 year of maternity leave.


mrs. fuzz said...

Jackie- I think it's usually 6 weeks to 3 months? So not right, huh.

Good ideas so far ladies.

Sara said...

Very nice blog.


Sister Copinherhair said...

What about asking the husband's police department for help?

Dori said...

Start small...build from there. Send out a notice in emails...for those interested in being a part of this group email the support leader...grow from there. She needs to decide if it's going to be something for her department only or for a greater circle.

Maybe set up an online group (facebook...but by invite only) and then you can set up meet times. Facebook has become a fantastic tool for stuff like this. But the administrator HAS to stay on top of it, making sure it remains a safe group for all involved.

And ONE year maternity leave?! I was given up to 12 weeks UNPAID but with benefits. And then I just didn't go back to work after the second one. :)

Jackie said...

Sorry Still on the subject of Maternity benefits.

In Canada (Varies slightly by province)
If you're pregnant you get 15 weeks of paid time off (at 80% of your salary) paid for by the government assuming you've worked 600 hours in the past year (or since your last Maternity/Unemployment claim)

Parents receive a total of 35 weeks that can be taken by either partner and applies to adoptive births as well. (Again assuming you've worked 600 hours in the past year/since your last claim).

Also a lot of employers provide 6 months of maternity leave at 60-80% of your regular salary, meaning that your spouse/partner can take some of the 35 weeks to spend time with you and the new baby. And you still have a fully year off.

Also employers are legally bound to hold your spot for a year after the date you start maternity leave. aka you can't be fired because you're pregnant.

On the subject of support groups talked to the ex-mother-in-law (LEO wife of 35++ years) She suggest that you ask the department if they have any support funds that they can access to help a) set up a program and b) ensure that all LEO wives have access (assuming that their husbands remember to bring home the notices...) not sure about the UK, but here in Canada some departments set aside a small amount of funds for support programs for the officers and their families!

good luck!


Gabby said...

Reading some of the replies, and I have to wonder if it is common to have a support group..I live in a fairly large city and while the boys-in-blue are tight with one another, there hasn't been anything that I've seen in the way of families and support groups extended to them. And because our city is so sprawling, a lot of the police officers who work together actually are no where near each other when it comes to neighborhood living. (Honestly, I'd love to have some sort of family/friend bonding with people IRL who know what it is like - but as with any group, our lives are so busy that it is difficult to get something like that moving and growing).

Alison said...

We started a group here for wives and I know there are many of those around. It was simply someone idea and she invited a few and then those few invited a few and so on.
Also-with FMLA you can take up to 12 weeks and even up to 24. We just had a baby and hubbys department offered him that. My work will let me take up to a year leave but once sick leave runs out it's unpaid.

Anonymous said...

Please remember when reading this that I'm asking a question and not saying anything personal!

Why the need for a support group? 1) Cuz you don't like our odd hours?
2) The fact that many cops have some sort of "friend" where they work that gives them free coffee or even cooks them dinner? That could mean a family too, not saying its an affair.

3) Don't like that we have to be in control all the time?

4) Don't like that we just want you to do what we say and not ask why?

5) That we are irretable (sp?) when we get home because no one liked us at work and we need some "cave" time (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) to decompress?

I feel that a support group will just be a gripe session.

I'm a cop, male and have a degree in Psy. Neither of these make me able to understand the desire of women to bond. But maybe I did just give you some good quesitons to talk about at your first meeting.

Take care, keep that man of yours safe!

Momma Hen said...

Like Alison said, our group started simply because like-minded women (in our case Christians who wanted to pray for our hubbies emotional, spiritual and physical safety) wanted to get together. We needed a safe place where we could bounce ideas off each other and get help with our struggles and know that we were understood and that what we shared wouldn't go any further than the room we were in.
We started with women we knew at church and then word spread from there. It has been a HUGE blessing being around women who have the same faith and who understand what the LEO life is really about.

Handcuffed Heart said...

Mr. Police Man, I answered your questions over at my blog. http://handcuffedheart.blogspot.com/

MJ said...

As an Admin over at the National Police Wives Association (nationalpolicewivesassociation.org), we are currently working on guidelines and materials for NPWA chapters that could be implemented anywhere in the world. NPWA is a great resource for anyone looking for online support or interested in forming a physical support group. We also currently have members in the UK as well as around the world.

Anonymous said...

NPWA has actually received the email from her as well and are working with her to help establish a group across the pond.

To Mr Policeman, I welcome you to visit our organization's website so you can see for yourself what it is we do. While yes, there is socializing, there is also a support system. For instance, when the husband of one of our members was shot in the line-of-duty, we rallied around her. We've mailed cards, solicited donations and are currently holding an online auction, and other members local to her are deliving meals and other necessities to help alleviate some needs they might have.

That is the purpose of a support organization.

Police jobs said...

There are certainly a national non profit group consisting of police wives existing these days. They are unique group consisting of women & men from all walks of life, who share a common bond of having a loved one in Law Enforcement.

Kaloy said...

I'm quite confused, which of this line is true,"It's scary to have a policeman as a husband" or "the policeman's wife is much scarier/fierce" hahahaha. Good work wives.
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