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Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver Robert Giles Senior Attorney National District Attorneys Association National Center for Prosecution of Child.

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Presentation on theme: "Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver Robert Giles Senior Attorney National District Attorneys Association National Center for Prosecution of Child."— Presentation transcript:

1 Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver Robert Giles Senior Attorney National District Attorneys Association National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse Alexandria, VA

2 Acknowledgments: Suzanne Walters, Consultant, NDAA Angela Scott, NCPTC, Winona, Minnesota Victor Veith, NCPTC, Winona, Minnesota Laura Rodgers, Former Senior Attorney, NDAA Justin Fitzsimmons, Senior Attorney, NDAA

3 Topics Myth v. Reality Common Reactions Common Questions Working with During the Investigation & Case Resources Open it up...

4 Myth: The mothers of child victims never ever ever ever believe their children

5 Reality The research shows that mother generally believe their childrens disclosure: totally or it part...

6 Myth: The non-offending caregiver had to know what was going on and turned the other cheek...

7 Reality Sexual assaults against children are committed in private that involves a secret between the victim and the perpetrator

8 Reality: Offenders Dual life: Manipulators of: Children Adults Excellent liars




12 Common Reactions to Disclosure of Abuse Many parents will experience a sense of disbelief and denial...similar to feelings of losing a child If child does not disclose promptly parent may not understand why no immediate disclosure Why wouldnt they tell them Why wouldn't they do what I told them to do

13 Emotions and Feelings Numbness: Inability to feel any emotion

14 Emotions and Feelings Distance: Feeling of being separated from people and events around you

15 Emotions and Feelings: Anger Toward everyone around them or more focused

16 Emotions and Feelings: Disbelief: Is this real

17 Emotions and Feelings: Guilty & Shame: what happened is their fault they brought Defendant into home

18 Emotions and Feelings: Religious Concerns: some women feel either they or child are being punished by God for something they did...

19 Emotions and Feelings Cultural Concerns: Immigration issues Stigma

20 Emotions and Feelings: Denial some mothers do not believe their child especially if defendant denies

21 Emotions and Feelings Hurt or Betrayal: non-offending may have feelings toward offender or child

22 Emotions and Feelings: Jealousy:

23 Emotions and Feelings: Sexual Inadequacy or Rejection: many women feel not sexy enough

24 Emotions and Feelings: Minimizing the Seriousness: many women will tell themselves that it is not as serious at it appears

25 Emotions and Feelings: Revenge: some women feel need to get even with the offender

26 Working with non-offending caregiver on investigation Initiate as soon as possible Document everything Emphasize protection of child

27 One Party Consent One Party Consent Call - A recorded call between the victim and suspect that is monitored by police. During the call the victim discusses and confronts the suspect with details of the abuse. Purpose is to gain true admissions from suspect.

28 What can you gain from the call? Full confession from defendant Partial admission from defendant Insight in to defendants mind/way of thinking that can be used during interrogation A great piece of evidence that can be used to play for the jury. Very little risk.

29 Emotions and Feelings Confusion and Doubt

30 Emotions and Feelings: Hatred : some women experience intense hatred for the offender

31 Emotions and Feelings Repulsion : some women may feel repulsed (especially sexually) by the offender

32 Emotions and Feelings: Financial Issues: hardship to family sole breadwinner

33 Factors That Influence Emotional Reaction Varies based on variety of factors: Was mother sexually abused as child? How does she normally cope with crises in general

34 Factors That Influence Emotional Reaction What is relationship with the child? What kind of relationship with offender? Friends and Family...supportive?

35 Factors That Influence Emotional Reaction Did she suspect a problem? What are cultural or religious beliefs? What are her values?

36 Common Questions from Caregivers: What type of behavior am I looking for?

37 Common Reactions from Abused Children: Early sexual activity Early appearance of maturity Acting out behaviors Withdrawn behaviors Confusion or lack of trust...especially younger children

38 Common Reactions from Abused Children: Sleep disorders Eating disorders Learning disabilities or high achiever

39 Common Questions: Does my child need counseling? excellent opportunity to gently suggest counseling to both child and non-offending caregiver...

40 Common Questions: Whose fault was this? assure caregiver never childs fault. not caregivers fault either

41 Common Questions: Did my child enjoy the sex? might be some aspect of it that was pleasurable to child...but still abuse

42 Common Questions: Why do I feel jealousy toward my daughter? normal reaction....

43 Common Questions: Why is my child so angry at me? MOM SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!!

44 Common Questions: Will my child have sexual problems later in life? some children do experience lasting effects from CSA that severely effect their sexual relationships as adults others do not

45 Common Questions: What effect will this have on other children? often very confusing time for non-victimized siblings jealousy confusion anger

46 Common Questions: How will the abuse affect my child in the future? every child reacts differently seriousness and duration relationship between offender and child

47 Common Questions: How can I re-establish trust in my family? discuss feelings with children encourage children to do the same

48 What Moms Say they Need the Most: Studies suggest that parents who receive less social or environmental support are more distressed and less supportive of their children. Theoretically then if we can offer parents services designed to increase their coping skills, they in turn become better able to help their children.

49 Non-Offending Caregiver Needs: Someone to talk to Specific information about what happened Someone to discuss their own sexual abuse

50 Non-Offending Caregiver Needs: Support Group Information Separation from offender to figure things out To be treated as a person

51 Non-Offending Caregiver Needs: The ability to make basic life decisions To know options regarding custody To regain control of their life

52 Non-Offending Caregiver Needs: To understand issues related to domestic violence and child abuse Ways to safeguard children in the future To understand how children will react

53 Working as a mdt to support Studies conducted by Lisa Jones, Wendy Walsh, Theodore Cross & Monique Siomone Care giver satisfaction substantially higher in CAC communities Services higher

54 Getting Through the System: Studies have shown that children who feel loved and supported by their mother through this process will recover from the trauma more quickly. Kendall-Tackett, Meyer Williams, & Finkelhor, 1993 p. 172

55 Following Tips May Help: Encourage mother to believe child Mothers can begin to cope with reality of situation once they trust their child. Gently encourage mothers to make decisions for herself and her family trust and control extremely low self-esteem

56 Tips: Support Network: many will suffer significant distress PTSD Depression General Symptoms of Distress

57 Tips: Encourage mothers to speak with children What child needs to hear: not their fault mom will try and protect them mom trusts and believes them

58 prepping parent for court Can be as important as preparing child for court Parents can be as anxious as child

59 Non-Offending Parent / Guardian Preparation Explain time frames both prior to and during the trial. Explain the need to have child physically and emotionally ready for trial.

60 Ideally court preparation should be a joint effort between the prosecutor and the victim advocate. Victim advocate can conduct court orientation/kids in court school Victim advocate should/may accompany child and prosecutor on a court visit

61 Victim advocate may/should take the role of liaison between parents and prosecutors office. Victim advocate should provide support and information to child and family throughout process. Victim advocate and prosecutor should have frequent contact. Victim Advocates and Court Preparation

62 Non-Supportive Parent: Imperative to childs well-being that non- supportive parent be identified as soon as possible. CPS Victim Advocate Let MDT team know....

63 Non-Supportive Parent: If attempts to convince mom have failed, removing the child needs to be seriously considered. Leaving the child in a non- supportive environment can cause the child significant emotional harm. It also significantly increases the likelihood of recantation.

64 Suggested Reading: Byerly, Carolyn M. (1985) The Mothers Book Gomes-Schwartz, Beverly (1990) Child Sexual Abuse: The Initial Effects. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage. Myers, John E.B. (1997) A Mothers Nightmare-Incest. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage National Research Council. (1993) Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect. Washington D.C.: National Academy Press

65 Thank you... Questions? Contact Information: Robert Giles NDAA/NCPCA Alexandria, VA 703-519-1656

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