Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver"— 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 mother’s of child victims never ever ever ever believe their children

5 Reality The research shows that mother generally believe their children’s 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 wouldn’t they tell them Why wouldn't they do what I told them to do Interesting in doing research that non-offending caregivers have similar feelings to victims of other crimes... numbness

13 Emotions and Feelings Numbness: Inability to feel any emotion
Some mom’s have described feeling like they were standing in the middle and everything was swirling around them…but they were not actually part of what was happening.

14 Emotions and Feelings Distance:
Feeling of being separated from people and events around you This is an opportunity to step back and examine what is occurring. Some women will “run away” to family or friends to think.

15 Emotions and Feelings:
Anger Toward everyone around them or more focused The mom may be angry at the child for “doing this” or a the offender for violating the child, or for betraying them. She may be angry at CPS or Law Enforcement for talking to the child without their permission or for taking the child away. The crucial thing here is getting the mom to focus her anger on the guilty party…the offender. Properly focused, this anger can be a very healthy way to process the crisis.

16 Emotions and Feelings:
Disbelief: “Is this real” This is important! Many mom’s will experience disbelief upon learning of the allegation. This is normal and does not mean that she will not be supportive of the child, however if when presented with the evidence, the mom continues to disbelieve, then they may need to be handled as a non-supportive parent, which we will talk more about later.

17 Emotions and Feelings:
Guilty & Shame: what happened is their fault they brought Defendant into home Mother’s frequently blame themselves for not knowing what was happening or not having the type of relationship with their child that would have allowed them to tell right away. Mom’s frequently say “my child and I are so close, I can’t believe she didn’t tell me”. It is helpful here to explain the dynamics of child abuse and the importance of the secrecy issue to keep the relationship going.

18 Emotions and Feelings:
Religious Concerns: some women feel either they or child are being punished by God for something they did... Some women have religious beliefs that effect their perception of abuse. If they feel that their god is punishing their child they may not be the best caretaker for the child. They may allow the perpetrator to influence the child or they may verbally berate the child for their role in the incident.

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 Mom’s in denial will resist any information or evidence that proves the allegation. Denial is a very powerful emotional tool that is used to protect us from the pain of the truth. Unfortunately denial that doesn’t resolve fairly quickly is a huge red flag. If denial persists, the child could be left unprotected so these types of situations have to be watched very carefully.

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

22 Emotions and Feelings:
Jealousy: Jealousy can also be a red flag. If the mom doesn’t recognize her jealousy and deal with it appropriately in therapy there can be problems. If she focuses her jealousy on the child it can be dangerous. This is often a sign of more of a “friendship” with her child then “mother/child” relationship.

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 Anyone that has worked in the field of child sexual abuse has heard a mom say “ok, he shouldn’t have done it but he can GET OVER IT” This can also be a red flag…if mom doesn’t get passed this stage fairly quickly she may not be supportive of the child

25 Emotions and Feelings:
Revenge: some women feel need to “get even” with the offender We have all probably seen the video tape of the mom that shot her son’s molester in the courtroom. There is also video of a dad that shoots a man that molested his daughter. I think we can all understand the feelings of revenge that would come along in a case like this. When a mom expresses a need for revenge you need to remind her that it is normal to think about harming someone who has harmed your child. This is a basic instinct. However, if you act on that instinct you could end up in prison yourself and that is not helpful to your child. You need to keep supervisors and attorneys aware of any threats that mom makes against the perpetrator.

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 defendant’s 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
The loss of what may be the main income for the family is devastating. Some women find themselves unable to pay the mortgage/rent, car payments, monthly expenses and grocery bills. In my experience, this is probably the single biggest reason that women let offenders back in their homes.

30 Emotions and Feelings:
Hatred: some women experience intense hatred for the offender These feeling may include not only hatred of the act but of the consequences of the act. This is a very understandable response. However, mom needs to be encouraged to keep her hatred in check when in court.

31 Emotions and Feelings Repulsion:
some women may feel repulsed (especially sexually) by the offender In some cases, the mother may be so repulsed that she becomes physically ill, including nausea and vomiting. Some mothers may not be able to sit in the court room and listen to a case without becoming physically ill.

32 Emotions and Feelings:
Financial Issues: hardship to family sole breadwinner Many parents in this situation are racked with self-doubt in their ability to parent, their ability to cope their ability to make choices and their ability to trust. Try to guide them to trust their instincts, keeping in mind that a trusted family member (maybe an in-law,etc) may no longer be sympathetic.

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 child’s fault. not caregiver’s fault either Help the mom place the blame appropriately on the offender. Five year olds are not seductive…unless they have been groomed by an offender to be so. The adult is always responsible.

41 Common Questions: Did my child enjoy the sex?
might be some aspect of it that was pleasurable to child...but still abuse The child (particularly if they are little older) may have experienced some physical pleasure during the abuse. They may also have physical injury and pain. A sense of physical pleasure does not negate the emotional trauma the child may have suffered at the same time.

42 Common Questions: Why do I feel jealousy toward my daughter?
normal reaction.... Some women will see their daughters as a competitor for their partner’s affection. They must be reminded that this is a child and it only serves the offender to have mother and child at odds.

43 Common Questions: Why is my child so angry at me?
MOM SHOULD HAVE KNOWN!!! Protection/Anger Young kids think that parents know everything…and when that is not the case the child may get angry at them for not knowing and not protecting them. By not blaming the child and being supportive the mom can encourage the child to overcome this anger. This is an issue that needs to be addressed in counseling.

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 counseling helps

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 Typically the more serious the abuse (penetration) the more likely the child will suffer emotional trauma. If the abuse went on for a long time vs. a one time incident will also influence the child’s reaction. The closer the relationship between the offender and the child the more likely that significant emotional harm will occur. But again, each child is different and there is no sure fire predictor.

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

48 What Mom’s 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. This is the most important part of this entire program. There are not a lot of studies on child abuse and non-offending caregivers. But the one issue that has been researched and that we know is true is the critical element of parental support in the child’s recovery. 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 Like many crime victims….many mothers need someone to talk to. Support groups can be very useful to non-offending caregivers. A support group allows them to process what has happened in a supportive environment with people who have had similar experiences. It is my experience that it can also make them much stronger. Support groups are an effective tool for victim assistance workers. A mother who is strengthened by a support group will provide better support for their child. Where I worked in Florida, we had a fabulous mom’s group that met at the same time at the same facility as our children’s groups.

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. The caregiver is a vital allies. should be given instructions on how to prepare the v for court. TIME FRAMES: inform so they can deal with delays TIPS: Have mom pack a lunch for V and self FORNEY CASE EXAMPLE PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY READY *prepare as you would for other stressful events-doc, dentist, test *good night sleep *good dinner and good breakfast FORNEY EXAMPLE

60 Victim advocate can conduct court orientation/“kids in court” school
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 Someone familiar, may be support person

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

62 Non-Supportive Parent:
Imperative to child’s 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 Mother’s Book
Gomes-Schwartz, Beverly (1990) Child Sexual Abuse: The Initial Effects. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage. Myers, John E.B. (1997) A Mother’s 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

Download ppt "Working with the Non-Offending Caregiver"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google