Amy stands in front of her window at 81 Magnolia Street and thinks about her best friend Brenda. It’s starting to get dark and Amy is worried. Where is she? It will soon be time to cook their evening meal and she needs Brenda to help her. Brenda didn’t say where she was going when she went out this morning and Amy won’t feel happy until Brenda is home.
Looking at the clock on the wall, Amy thinks about phoning their support worker Jackie. Then Amy remembers the last time she phoned Jackie to tell her that Brenda hadn’t come home. Brenda was so angry with Amy that she wouldn’t talk to her for two days. Amy decides she won’t phone Jackie just yet and hopes that Brenda comes home soon.
With her face pressed close against the window, Amy watches as the cars and people go up and down Magnolia Street. She stands there for a while and is about to go upstairs when Amy thinks she sees Brenda on the other side of the street. As the person gets nearer, Amy is sure that this person is Brenda.
Amy quickly pulls the curtains shut and sits down on her favourite chair. When she hears the front door open, Amy watches as Brenda slams the door shut and then throws her bag on the floor.
“Where have you been Brenda?” Amy asks her quietly, “are you alright, I was worried about you?”
Brenda rubs her eyes and when she looks at her face, Amy can see that Brenda has been crying. She watches in silence as Brenda starts to cry, but when Amy tries to talk to her, Brenda turns away from her and runs up to her room.
Amy doesn’t see Brenda again that night but she hears her crying in her room. With her hands pressed against her bedroom wall, Amy lies there and worries. Why is Brenda so upset? Why won’t Brenda talk to her and tell her what is wrong?
The next morning when she walks into the kitchen, Amy is surprised to see Brenda is dressed and ready to go out.
“Where are you going Brenda?” Amy asks her as Brenda closes the kitchen cupboard.
“It’s none of your business,” Brenda shouts, “leave me alone.”
“I heard you crying last night, I’m worried about you,” Amy says quietly.
Brenda starts to walk out of the kitchen but then suddenly she starts to cry. Amy rushes over to her and puts her arms around Brenda. When Amy asks her again what’s wrong, Brenda still doesn’t answer.
Amy holds Brenda’s hand tightly and they sit down together. Slowly, Brenda starts to tell Amy all about Andy and the money she gave him. She tells Amy she has to go to the park again today to see if Andy is there. When Amy asks Brenda why, she tells Amy that Andy took her purse and she waited all day yesterday for him to come back with it.
Amy is very upset and angry that Andy did this to her best friend. She never liked Andy but she doesn’t tell Brenda this. They talk for a long time about the money and about Andy and then Amy tells Brenda they must speak to someone. When Amy says they should phone her mum to tell her what happened, Brenda says no. She doesn’t want to upset her so Amy says they should phone Jackie instead. Brenda is not sure.
“I don’t want Andy to get into trouble but I want him to give me my purse back and I don’t want him to be angry with me,” Brenda tells her.
“Jackie will help you. She told us to tell her if something is wrong,” Amy says quietly.
Finally, Brenda agrees to phone Jackie and it isn’t long before she rings the doorbell at 81 Magnolia Street. At first Brenda is worried but as they sit down together and Amy makes them both a mug of tea, Brenda starts to feel better. Jackie tells Brenda that she was really glad that she phoned her and then she asks Brenda to tell her all about Andy.
“I met him at the bus stop and I really liked him. When we got on the bus I showed him my keyrings and my bank cards,” Brenda tells her.
When she tells Jackie about the money she gave him, Jackie says they need to speak to the police. Brenda starts to cry.
“You’re not in trouble Brenda,” Jackie explains, “but you need to tell the police because Andy has done something that is very wrong and they need to find him.”
Amy sits holding Brenda’s hand tightly while Jackie phones the police. Brenda has stopped crying now but she is still very upset.
It is later that day when a police woman comes to Brenda’s house in Magnolia Street. The police woman asks Brenda lots of questions about Andy and the money she gave him. She asks Brenda where she met him and looks at Brenda’s bank statements. When they have finished talking, the police woman tells Brenda that she is very brave and she did the right thing reporting Andy to the police.
When the police woman tells Brenda she will need to go to the police station to write a statement, Brenda asks, “what’s a statement?”
The police woman puts down her note pad and looks at Brenda. “A statement is your chance to say what happened to you, Brenda. A police officer like me will ask you questions and write down what you have said. They will ask you to read it and sign it with your name. When you sign the statement you are saying that you agree the statement is true and is exactly what happened. Your statement may be used as evidence in court.
A few weeks after the police woman came to their house, Brenda is still feeling sad. Brenda hasn’t got her purse or her money back but the police told her they have spoken to Andy. Now she knows that Andy wasn’t really her friend. He was just pretending to be her friend so that he could take her money. The police told her that Andy had taken money from lots of other people so they were really pleased that Brenda had reported him to the police.
When Brenda told her friends Gary and Jack about Andy, they told her that what Andy did, is called a mate crime. Brenda had not heard about mate crime before so they told her more about it. They explained that mate crime is when someone pretends to be your friend so they can take things from you or do things to hurt you.
Brenda is very careful now when she talks to people she doesn’t know and she never gives money to people in the street or shows anyone her bank cards or PIN number. When she thinks about what Andy did, she still feels upset and is angry with herself for giving him the money. Amy is happy that Brenda told her what Andy did and that she is still her friend.
Brenda says “Never show anyone your bank cards, or PIN number and don’t give your money to people you don’t know. If something like this happens to you, don’t be afraid to report it to the police. ”
Brenda asks you these questions;
What did the police woman say to me?
What is a statement?
What is mate crime?
What do you think will happen next?
Brenda says – If you think that you have been a victim of a crime, don’t be afraid to report it to the police. Here are some ways you can report a crime;