We became aware last week, of the horrific experience an Irish au pair, allegedly suffered at the hands of her employer in France.
Newspapers reported the au pair was given a spiked drink, she said she began to feel dizzy, and said she remembered her employer kissing her, before going on to rape her.
You can read more about it here.
This is the sort of nightmare scenario no au pair ever wants to find themselves in. Thankfully it rarely happens, in the 10 years this site has been running, we can’t recall anything like it ever having happened before. And, while it is impossible to say it won’t happen again, you can take some very simple steps to make it less likely.
It important you treat the role with the caution it deserves. Host families are not vetted – you will be going to live with strangers, you will be sleeping, bathing, eating, and living in the same house as strangers. So, while your prospective host family will be interviewing you, it’s equally important you interview them too – don’t be afraid to ask questions – ask them about any previous au pairs -why they left, are they still in contact, can they share the au pair’s contact details?
If possible, talk to that au pair on Skype, and learn more about the host family.
Also, meet the family, does any family member make you feel uneasy? Trust your instincts, if you’re unsure or feel uneasy, politely tell the host family the job doesn’t suit you.
If the host family has been a site member for a long time, and if they don’t indicate they are willing to share previous au pairs’ contact details, you need to ask why – there may be a straightforward reason, but it’s important you find out why.
Taking these simple steps can lead to a safer, more enjoyable au pair experience for you.