The Many Roles Of The Private Investigator In Investigating Child Sexual Abuse Allegations – Part XIII ‘The Emotions And Brain’

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Image by Łukasz Strachanowski via Flickr

By Lawrence W. Daly, MSc
 “All this worldly wisdom was once the unamiable heresy of some wise man”

Sometimes in life there are situations which no one wants to deal with. The loss of a loved one can make life a miserable place to be a part of. The grieving process is difficult not only mentally but emotionally. As a private investigator sometimes the investigator may find a client wanting answers about the loss of life, a loved one. Experienced has demonstrated that parents want to know why their child was sexually assaulted. People want quick and understandable answers to complicated questions.

The client may want answers to questions which law enforcement officials were unable to answer. Therefore, the role and responsibility of the private investigator is to deal with their own darkness, emotions, anxiety, and fears. At the same time the investigator must conduct a neutral and objective investigation, managing their emotions at the same time.

It takes a special individual to handle the death of another person or the rape of a child. As a law enforcement officer death is something a law enforcement official has to deal with. It is part of the job, the responsibility of the reactive patrol officer to the assigned investigating follow-up investigator if the death is a possible homicide.

In dealing with death a private investigator must be an individual who understands all types of deaths. It is difficult for many investigators to investigate sex crimes and homicides. The investigator who can handle investigating these special types of crimes must be able to ‘check their emotions at the door’. There is no time for an investigator to demonstrate an emotional breakdown or signs of weakness.

Managing emotions comes from education and experience in dealing with stressful situations. Attempting to categorize and then shelve a feeling to deal with at a later time is something the private investigator may have to do when initially confronted with a young child who was raped and/or murdered.

The rush of emotions the private investigator may feel when confronted with a bizarre and undaunting situation may depend on how they will respond to an unfamiliar situation. It depends on the private investigators background in how they deal with any given situation. If the investigator has experience as being a law enforcement official than it is more than likely they will have the knowledge and understanding in how to deal with how and what they are feeling.

If confronted with an emotional set of feelings, the investigator must quickly mentally process what specific emotion is taking control and how to ease back into normalcy. This mental process of sliding from a feeling of out of control back to normalcy isn’t something that occurs with the snap of the fingers. It takes practice in how to shut down all mental and nervous systems which have their mind racing without losing control. The investigator must demonstrate internal and external consistency.

The intellectual thought process can’t take place when the investigator is in an anxiety state of confusion. The investigator must understand how the brain works in order to deal with what they are feeling. If the investigator doesn’t understand the workings of their brain, than how will they learn how to defend against what is happening to them?

Let us look at what they may be dealing with when they come across a situation where a child sexual assault victim disclosed that they were inappropriately sexually touched. Then the thought of having to interview the child victim has created a state of anxiety, fear, delusion and feelings which they have never felt before. If the investigator understands the feelings and how to calm themselves, than the feelings they are feeling will leave as fast as they came.

The mind is an interesting thing. Let us survey how the mind affects the emotions, feelings and thoughts process:
T­he process of creating fear begins with a scary stimulus and ends with the fight-or-flight response. But there are at least two paths between the start and the end of the process:
·         Thalamus - decides where to send incoming sensory data (from eyes, ears, mouth, skin)
·         Sensory cortex - interprets sensory data
·         Hippocampus - stores and retrieves conscious memories; processes sets of stimuli to establish context
English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings
Image via Wikipedia
·         Amygdala - decodes emotions; determines possible threat; stores fear memories
·         Hypothalamus - activates "fight or flight" response
Understanding these five parts of the brain is a beginning for the investigator to grasp and to put into working order.
Moving forward, the private investigator now has the skills and the abilities to approach a child sexual abuse investigation with a non-emotional, objective and neutral mental approach. Further, the investigator must understand in order to be successful he/she must be continually conscientious that at any time their emotions may create a problem during the fact-finding mission if they do not follow a structured check and balance.
This information isn’t about make believe, voodoo, and any other spirituous mentality, it is about applying the science of the brain as the investigator approaches each aspect of the investigation. It is difficult for people to understand that as humans the brain should work one way unless there is something organically defective with the brain.
The investigators approach must be slow, methodical, systematic, and ingenious in order to determine what happened between the alleged child victim and sexual offender. Some of the professionals in the child sexual abuse industry believe the word of the child is sufficient enough to place the alleged sexual offender in prison. This belief is ignorant and has no place in a criminal investigation.
Tomorrow, the need to look at other aspects of the skills, abilities, intuition, thought process, the many approaches to an allegation of child sexual abuse by the private investigator will continue. Anyone can take a witness statement, collect evidence and arrest the alleged sexual offender; however, not everyone can put the pieces together and understand what everything means. The investigator will live in their own world until such time others believe in their hypothesis of what transpired between the alleged child victim and sexual offender.

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