Sunday, June 28, 2015

Two Words Should Never Be Used While Investigating Child Abuse Claims

Social workers who investigate child abuse allegations are amongst the most talented, and the most negatively impacted professionals in the world.  Two solid years of incessant child and parent interviewing can make them razor sharp. Secondary trauma leads many of them to poor health, substance abuse, and cynicism, unless they take particular care of themselves.

Police officers specifically trained and assigned to child abuse cases, including children interviewing, also can become razor sharp in their skills, but are also prone to the secondary trauma of seeing some of the most horrific things done to the most vulnerable.  Seeing a dead body is worse when the body is so very tiny.  They too, suffer from many of the maladies that impact the licensed social worker and health care professional who works in the child abuse field.

Not only do they deal with the most vulnerable of citizens, but they often are targeted by the public for "taking babies for profit" and other lies, while being bound by confidentiality laws to not embarrass the abusive parent, or stigmatize the child.

I saw a social worker once scream while listening to a news report in which a mother was, on live television, blasting the professional for "outright lying" and "making money off taking kids away", as she was starting a protest.  What was not allowed to be said was the horrific things this mother had done to her own child.

The secondary trauma can be intense and the professional must take care of himself or herself, not simply in de-briefing and exercise, but in nutrition, sleep, and quality of "outside" life.  It is a tough call.

What can help tremendously is getting to the truth, and having tools of which are so sharp, that they end up saving time, and give the satisfaction of not only saving a child from further abuse, but the same tools will clear the falsely accused in cases where parents are fighting over a child because of money, and will lie, and destroy, for a dollar.

I once had a case in which a neighbor accused her male neighbor of molesting her 13 year old daughter.  The 13 year old was interviewed as was the mother.

A local judge once said that she believed, as a judge, that it was impossible for a child to make up accusations of abuse.  As a judge, she believed the child each and every time.  There was nothing I could say to talk her out of it.  (Her language revealed her own history of childhood sexual abuse). I can only use my imagination to know the damage she inflicted in life because of her lack of discernment.

The 13 year old entered into her mother's language.  This is more than "parroting", but actually was so bonded with her mother, that she could finish her mother's sentences.

I learned that the accused, who now faced serious jail time and an utter loss of reputation, but a destruction that would be in total for his life.

I also learned that he loaned his female neighbor money to pay her rent.

Statement Analysis cleared the falsely accused and the young girl eventually confessed what I had already known:  mother had rehearsed the allegations repeatedly with her daughter.


If a child protective social worker or designated law enforcement official (both trained in child interviewing) are investigating an allegation of child abuse against a parent or parents, there are two words that they must avoid at all costs.

In some Dept. of Health and Human Services, the licensed social workers do not "investigate" child abuse allegations, but "assess" them.  This is a 'softer', more 'politically correct' word designed to make the alleged abuser feel more at ease.

It also minimizes serious allegations and is a result of "pendulum" swings where our society has drifted from holding people responsible ("Sir, how do you plan on providing for the baby?") to avoiding anything that might hurt the feelings of the parent.

Eventually, many States told child protective workers not to ask a parent how he or she intended to provide for the child, as this might hurt a parent's feelings. More than a few times, I asked the question to hear a surprised response:  "Tanif!", while the young man turns from me, surprised that I asked him, back to his video game.

Statement Analysis teaches that the truth comes from the Free Editing Process.

This is the legally sound, rights orientated manner in which a parent may freely choose his or her own words.

Remember the speed of transmission serves our purposes.

The average parent has an internal vocabulary of 25,000 words.  When you ask, "What happened to the baby?", the parent freely goes into this dictionary, and decides what to tell you, which words to use, which tenses to employ, where to place each word next to another, to make sense, and this takes place in less than a micro-second of time.

This is why they are trained to ask, "What happened?" and "What happened, next?" so that the questions will not limit the Free Editing Process in which the subject (parent) chooses his or her own words freely, not influenced by your words.

What are the two words an investigator must never use when interviewing parents suspected of child abuse?

In Statement Analysis, we say:

Principle Number One:   "A man cannot sexually abuse his own child."

This is often met with shock or even ridicule from experienced social workers who have had too many cases of children sexually abused by their own parents. I ask them to hang in there, and give me time to prove it.

This goes to the Free Editing Process.

For a man to sexually abuse his own daughter, he must go through a process in his mind of which he "changes" her into something that is not his own daughter.

Abusive parents will struggle, in specific context, with this very thing.

The training of social workers and law enforcement trained to interview children is intense. It is not for the nominal.  It is challenging, but life changing work. 

Principle Number Two:  "Language does not change on its own."

"The officer pulled his gun and fired his weapon twice.  He reholstered his gun and called for back up. "

Language does not change on its own.  There must be a change in reality to express what took place in language, in less than a micro second.  The "gun" turned into a "weapon" when it was in use, but when it was no longer in use, it changed from a "weapon" back into a "gun."

This sentence is very likely to be truth, therefore, as change of language, when justified, statistically is very likely to be true.

In the following statement, childhood sexual abuse is alleged.  The man who answered the door to the social worker and police officer (joint interview) began to speak, and the two professionals were wise enough to not interrupt the free editing process because this is where truth is discerned.

"This is a load of crap.  You people should be disgusted with yourselves. Do you think that I am disgusted?  This is a bunch of lies and you people know it.  
What I did is this.  I got home from a friend's at 10AM and my wife and my daughter were home.  She was ticked that I was out early because she
wanted to go shopping.  She left.  I was busy and the girl had homework anyway. 
The next thing I know she gets home from shopping, wants me 
to carry in the groceries and my daughter is crying like there's
something wrong.  you get called.  Cops get called and here

I am with this crap."

You now likely have an idea of the two words of which a professional must never use in the presence of a parent or parents, accused of child abuse. 

"Son" and "Daughter"

Please look at the statement again.  It not only is an admission of sexual abuse, but it reveals much more information, including the time of the abuse and the dynamics of the household:

"This is a load of crap.  You people should be disgusted with yourselves. Do you think that I am disgusted?  This is a bunch of lies and you people know it.  
What I did is this.  I got home from a friend's at 10AM and my wife and my daughter were home.  She was ticked that I was out early because she
wanted to go shopping.  She left.  I was busy and the girl had homework anyway. 
The next thing I know she gets home from shopping, wants me 
to carry in the groceries and my daughter is crying like there's
something wrong.  you get called.  Cops get called and here
I am with this crap."

Without going into detail in the analysis, (it is very lengthy), a question is this:

Question:  What caused his "daughter" to change into "the girl", and then back into "daughter", again?

Answer:  The presence of the mother. 

In order to sexually molest his daughter, the offender had to "change" his daughter into the gender specific "girl", which is when he molested her.  What caused this to happen?

The mother's departure. 

Did you notice that when the mother was in the home, her presence impacted the father's language, as he called her not only "daughter" but "my daughter."  

When the mother was gone, the daughter was no longer "safe" as she "changed" into "the girl", with no possessive pronoun.  The offender objectified her after robbing her of the status of his daughter.  When the mother returned, so returned the status of "daughter" and safety.  

The mother "knew" of his "little problem", but feared disclosure because of financial constraint.  She had told her husband that he was to stay away from another local pedophile (they find each other for 'strength' in their perversity), which is why "a friend" is used, and not "my friend."

The mother was stressed.  She had to go food shopping and the couch-surfing lout (note the grocery issue) assured her to "just go" and "not worry" and the victim, who desperately loved her father, thought he would leave her alone since most of the "play time" (his words for her years earlier) was at night when she was drowsy and with less defense.  

He did not molest his "daughter" but he molested "the girl", in his mind.  

Each of us has a personal, subjective, internal dictionary.  

One child played "monopoly" with Mommy's boyfriend.  Noting she was too young to play the board game, I asked her to show me the game.  I immediately had to stop her.  

Child Protective Professionals must avoid using the words "son" and "daughter", instead noting very carefully the context in which these words are used, and more importantly, the context in which they disappear.  

I have found, through interviewing hundreds of families, that when the "son" or "daughter" is ejected from the language of the offending parent, to be the time of the abuse.  

Shortly after, however, when there is remorse (which may stem from being caught, or may be genuine self-loathing) not only does "daughter" reappear with the pronoun "my", but it now comes with terms of endearment as well. 

The child who is sexually abused will suffer.  This suffering may be:

a. Lifetime

and it may include a host of problems, especially triggered in adolescence:  

b.  substance abuse
c.  depressed immune system (open to all manner of illness throughout life)
c.  de-personalization
d.  boundary issues
e.  suicide and suicidal ideation
f.  depression
g.  anxiety 
h.  difficulties in relationships
i.  promiscuity 
j.  frigidity later in adulthood
k.  hyper vigilance including PTSD, PTSD like symptoms, over protective parenting (leading to later bullying of the child), failure to protect, failure to recognize abuse, denial, minimization, etc.
l.   self-sabotaging of success, happiness and health, in all aspects of life
m.  oppressive need for control, rules, laws, etc. 
n.  Unexplained health issues
o.  Speech and communication issues (especially if the sexual abuse was pre-speech)

A question to consider:

When an infant is sexually abused where the touch did not cause any pain (but may have been 'pleasurable' or 'gentle' touch), the results may be exactly what has been described above.  Why is this the possible result?

If you use the word "daughter" in your interview process, the parent can now, without internal stress, parrot your word back to you, taking the parent out of the free editing process and into a place of comfort.  The comfort is not with his own words, but a comfort with your words. Liars often avoid the stress of disrupting the micro speed of the free editing process by entering into, or just parroting the Interviewer's own words.  

"Did you molest your daughter?"

"I did not molest my daughter" is not reliable.  It is to parrot the words of another AND...

it does not define what "molest" means.  

I had a child molester pass a polygraph while asked this question.  Had the polygraher used his own words ("tickle"), he would have failed.  

Cleared, he reoffended.  

This is a small aspect of the training for Social Workers, and the full analysis of this short statement reveals a great deal of information that was used in the interview process, which resulted in the man leaving the home, and support gained for the mother and child, including professional intervention and financial support.  

For training opportunities, including seminars and home courses, visit Hyatt Analysis.

Discounts for hosting DHHS offices and police departments.  

You must avoid "son" and "daughter" and only allow the parent to use these terms, and then be on alert for its use. 

You will hear it, very likely, in non-abusive contexts. 

If it disappears and the child is referred to as something else, you must be on alert to know what context caused this change.   


I was taught to not keep using the same word repeatedly, as it is tedious.  This is why I change language. 

Answer:  In the free editing process, the brain is moving very quickly, so I ask you to try this experiment to see just how accurate this really is:

The next time you hear a change of language, I dare you; no, I double-dog-dare you, to ask the person what caused it. 

You are very likely to hear this answer:

"I didn't change my language."

When you point out specifically, that they did, you will likely hear this:

"I didn't even realize I changed my language!"

It goes by too quickly.

Remember my tale of the pretty co-worker from years ago?

She told a new worker, "See if Peter can go with you on the interview.  He's a good man to have with you."

I overheard it and smiled. 

Months later, and yet another new worker (child abuse workers have a high rate of burn out) she said to the new worker, "Take Peter with you.  He's a good person  to have with you when you're doing interviews. "

I could not resist.  

I asked her, "Did you used to have a crush on me?"

She turned red and answered my question with a question:  "Why do you ask that?" which was followed by, "Well, I used to, but that was months ago.  How'd you know?"

I pointed out that months ago she called me a "man" but now, she changed me into a "person."  A "person" is gender neutral, while "man" is specifically man. 

 (NOTE: that's what it used to mean 10 years ago).  

I asked, "What caused the change?"

"Oh, I met your wife, Heather!  She's really nice."  

By avoiding introducing language, whenever possible, you will get to the truth of what happened and then can assess the safety level, risk, and what intervention may be necessary to facilitate the safety and well being of the child.  

This is part of a much larger training for professionals who conduct child interviews.  

The process of transmission changing 25,000 or more words, down to 15 or so, with precision, is so fast that deception disrupts this speed, causing internal stress upon the subject.  The internal stress, here, is not a conscience, or a lack thereof, but a scientific stress:  this wildly fast process has a disruption to it because the words are not coming from memory (experiential memory), which is the reason why the person feels stress.  Even sociopaths feel this stress,and it is how we discern deception.  

The training is intense, and a level of professionally often comes from two years of intense study and practice.  This is where the "dulled listening" is turned off, once and for all, and the "analytical listening", especially for those who began study as intuitively sharp, takes over. 

You will never read a book or article the same way again. 

You will never listen to people the same way, ever again.  

I have found that those who dedicate two straight years to practice and training, once been formally trained, reach this wonderful threshold, and now use their skill to advance their careers, in whatever field they are in, from investigations, to social services, to Human Resources, to sales and so on.  Medical professionals, litigators, in short, anyone who deals in communication will benefit from training. 


Frank said...

Off Topic: Sorry for the off topic, but I wanted to ask if Peter or anyone else on here has any doubts about the veracity of the story of the killing of escaped convict Richard Matt. Yesterday, after reading about how they supposedly caught him, I felt full of doubts as to whether they actually had caught him for many reasons, mainly that the story of how they "discovered" him makes no sense to me. Today, I see the new headline is that Richard Matt was shot "3 times" in the head. At this point, I am willing to express I have doubts about whether they actually caught him and killed him, as their story does not make sense up to and including how the other prisoner who supposedly was travelling with him according to 2 sets of footprints "vanished into thin air". The amount of money and resources they have been spending on this manhunt could not go on forever and I am wondering if a story was made up to try to put the whole hunt to an end. I would love to hear anyone else's opinion.

Tania Cadogan said...

Hi Peter, thanks for this interesting nugget of information.

I noticed with the mccanns (yeah i know) that both either reference her by name to the extent of over using it and denying they used the diminutive of Maddie, claiming it was a media invention, whilst on their posters, website and pressers they used Maddie.
Family members also referred to her as Maddie and even gery did when the twins were born on his friends reunited page.

I also noted they used identifiers such as a child, the child, daughter.

Statement Analysis Blog said...

Abusive parents DO use "son" and "daughter" in non-abusive content.

CPS case workers often do more than 1,000 interviews in under 2 years. This is a tremendous case load but it is also "sink or swim" where they learn, or the fail.

I have met some that were as sharp as razors and training was like putting them on steroids!


Anonymous, I will look into Matt. If you have specifici quotes let me know.

Frank said...

Well, I guess the story is now taking another turn, with authorities saying David Sweat has also been shot and taken to the hospital.

To me, the story of the capture of the first felon makes no sense. I am looking for direct quotes. Kind of hard to find. Here is a short news clip with a direct quote from a state tropper about the killing of the first one, Richard Matt. I will transcribe.

Frank said...

I apologize. This is the correct link. The 2 minute video is the state trooper describing catching up with and killing Matt. I will transcribe the sentence where he describes the killing. One thing I notice is that this trooper does not use any "ums" until he gets to THAT sentence where they catch up with Matt and kill him. At this point, we here probably 8 "ums". I will transcribe that sentence.

Frank said...

The entire video I posted at 5:02 is the state trooper talking to the press. I have transcribed the part where he describes authorities catching up with Matt and killing him. Please notice the amount of "ums". I did have time to transcibe the whole video but if you watch you will see how he basically does not use that word "um" except very frequently during this small section where he describes authorities catching up with Matt and killing him.

Here is that sentence

"And um a team, a tactical team from um customs and border protection um met up with, with Matt in the woods, challenged him and ah, he was shot dead by border patrol at that time we recovered a 20-gauge shotgun, um from um Matt's body at the location um based on that we continue to search."

At this point, he begins talking about the search for Sweat and all of his use of "ums" goes away.

Sara said...

Peter I wish I could share your beliefs about child protection workers. I wish it was true what you expressed. I have had close personal contact with 6 different "helpers" and while 2 were honest professionals, the other 4 were liars. One of the honest ones prevented a vindictive ex from using the system to punish her ex for, well, being her ex. Another good one tried hard to reunite a father with his children. But the other four were lying, power tripping, fodder in the hands of a personality disordered "grandma". They were incapable of seeing past their personal biases and destroyed the loving bonds between a father and his children. In my opinion you stand a bigger chance of encountering a bad one, rather than a good one. Just like the police. Honest child protection workers are the minority, and they usually have corrupt supervisors limiting the good they try to do. It's a sad state of affairs here in my county. The good ones don't stay on the job very long.

Statement Analysis Blog said...


What you observed is also true. When the CPS worker is a liar, that is, a fabricator of reality, the damage is extreme.

One such worker gained a nickname for "yanking" children out of homes and actually moved from one state to another because she was found out. She always appeared to be so efficient, yet her sworn affidavits were deceptive.

The damage she did to families in falsely moving children out is beyond what I can quantify.


Sara said...

Peter- thank you for acknowledging that, and validating my experiences. It means a lot.

Anonymous said...

Sara, it isn't only some of the CPS child abuse case workers who are deceptive; so are some of the physicians that child welfare victims of sexual abuse are sent too for examination and case reports. I know of a case where I viewed the extreme battering, vaginal stretching and sexual abuse of a 28-month old toddler that I cared for over a period of days and weeks afterwards who was in so much pain the poor little girl couldn't even stand water or a diaper to touch her little body for days afterwards.

Days later, when I was finally able to get an appointment through CPS supervisors, she was taken to the physician who was recommended and paid for by CPS and after examination their physician said she could see no evidence of sexual abuse. This went into the child's record which only served to help the mother retain custody of the baby while she continued to be abused.

Having SEEN the injuries and having attended to the baby; had I not taken her to a private pediatrician for examination, this baby would have met her death in the not too distant future; however, I DID take her to another physician, even though her outward injuries had receded by this time, and upon vaginal examination this physician said that she had been sexually penetrated many times and was opened up as much as a woman.

It was only after this examination and report(by now months later and with the help of costly lawyers) that I was able to have the baby removed via emergency court order from her mother and her mother's drug buddies, but nothing was ever done to charge or prosecute those responsible for her abuse. Believe me, if one doesn't have good lawyers and private physicians to help them the abused child is more than likely to continue to be abused, sometimes until dead; thanks to CPS and DCF case workers and their physicians who inept and care so little.

foodnerd said...

WA state CPS has an appalling record of repeatedly putting young children back with abusive and neglectful criminal parents, when the kids had loving foster families where they thrived! Right as they get healed up physically and as much or more than can be expected emotionally, they're dumped back "home," beaten, burned and starved a few more months and the cycle repeats.

One we all followed in the news for several cycles of that. The final one, the news showed the foster mom crying as CPS drove away with her beloved Rafael yet again. She was just devastated as she said she just knew in her heart it was the last time she would ever see him. His POS parents proved her right when they beat him to death a few weeks later.

For a couple of our worst, search Eli Creekmore, and everyone probably remembers Josh Powell, the perverted wife-killer with an even creepier father. He got one final supervised visit with his young children Super Bowl Sunday two years ago. He locked out the social worker then blew up his house with himself and his young children inside.
They were just getting old enough to speak, and already saying many hints about taking Mommy to the mountains and returning without her.