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  • Are you trained to.....

    notice emotional abuse. I know you are Physical and Sexual but are you trianed in noticing when some one is being verbally or emotionally abused?
    Emotional abuse is the diminishment of another person. I suffered it for many years.I was not treated like my siblings and was my mother "target child". Do you notice any of this stuff when you go on calls? Usually, you will notice an extremely domineering person who domineers the who household. In this instance, it was my mother.

  • #2
    I have never received training in the recognition of psychological abuse. The only exception is issues concerning power/control in a domestic violence cirucumstance.

    I use my life experience to determine who is the more psychologically dominant person. I may offer some advice to the person being "dominated" (for lack of a better term). However, my experience is that the victims often stay in the relationship with the dominator, no matter how much logic would seem to scream, "Get out!"
    Officer, I borrowed these pants!


    • #3
      PS- "cirucumstance" is southern California cop slang for "circumstance." Oh, it must be late...
      Officer, I borrowed these pants!


      • #4
        Interesting topic, Mitzi.

        I have worked with many patients who were emotionally abused by parents and siblings. Abuse of any nature can be the cause of many psychiatric disorders. For children, emotional abuse can have devastating consequences, that reach far into adulthood.

        [email protected] "Where there is love, there is no imposition"- Albert Einstien.


        • #5
          I wish I was trained in some way.
          Like others we are told what to look out for in cases of domestic violence but that is about as far as it goes.

          Just fall back on good communication skills and hopefully see the signs and do something about it.

          "Never under-estimate the power of thick people in large groups"


          • #6
            What are we supposed to do if we see it? I don't know any laws against it. Sorry you had to go through it but I would try to put it behind you asap and move on.


            • #7
              Well, that's one of the myths of emotional abuse, RT.....Many people think,well, what is the problem? It's over with. Get on with your life. But, it has just as far reaching results and more as physical or sexual abuse It works from within and far less people receive help for it then those do who are victims of any other kind of abuse.
              How do you "get over" not being allowed to sleep as a form of control? That's what happened to me and I've never gotten over it. I've had 12 years of therapy and I think I'm doing great.....but it will always be there in some form.
              One of the best ways of seeing emotional abuse is to watch the dominant person in the house. An emotional abuser can control with a look or with body language. My mother could give the most sadistic looks. Or she would advance toward me menanceingly and her whole body language would make me scared to death. She rarely hit me. I was too scared of her to cross her. If you answer a call, watch the kids and their reaction to the dominant person in the household. It may be a quiet scene by the time you get there but, believe me, an emotional abuser knows how to control with a look, a body gesture, a stance. It could give you maybe some idea as to whether you need to have the kids situtation looked at a little more closely. Our house was always a mess if I didn't clean it up.....and I was forced to. We were all very quiet, sad children who rarely smiled. And we were all, without, exception, scared to death of our mother. Because I was my mothers "target child", I received the worst of the abuse. Don't get me wrong, they suffered greatly. But, I just got more. The denial of sleep was the worst. She would literally sit me in a chair and sit up with me all night if I told her I wasn't going to, say, stop dating the guy I was dating, for example. She kept me so tired and befuddled and she would screen my calls and visits. It was pure hell.
              There is little, I think, that you as police officers, can do about emotional abuse except to notice and watch if it leads into abuse that you can do something about. Physical and sexual abuse are against the law but not emotional abuse. It's harder to notice but it has just bad as any abuse....worse, because it works from within. Believe me, a cruel word or deed can hurt just as much as a shot to the heart. Sometimes, if you notice that one person is dominant, it may be able to get you to watch a situation that may include hidden physical or sexual abuse. Believe me, that dominant person is always the person to watch.
              There is a really good article that really hit home with me. I cried when I read it because it was my life. It's is "You carry the cure in your own heart" by Anthony Vacchs. He is a lawyer who defends abused children and he feels emotional abuse is the worst abuse of all.
              I've put a lot of this behind me but it will never completely go away. For all my siblings and I went through, I think we have preservered.

              [This message has been edited by Mitzi (edited 06-14-2001).]


              • #8
                Mitzi, I agree in part that from the victim's POV, the emotional abuse may be worse than the physical. (Of course this may depend on the extent of the physical/sexual abuse.)

                As an investigator, I may recognize emotional and psychological abuse, but when these elements are the only ones that I have, there is little I can do. Emotional abuse alone cannot be charge criminaly (at least in any state that i know of).

                I ahve had some cases where abuse was reported and investigated but we could not substantiate physical abuse. I have seen indicators of physical/emotional abuse in these cases. About all I can do is try to put a good case file together and provide the inofrmation to CPS in hopes that they can help. At the very least, my observations are documented and may help some future investigator or clinician who would benefit from the historical.

                I must also say, that while some officers receive very good training on child abuse, most do not. you would have them recognizing subtle indicators of psychological and emotional dynamics.....I would be happy if more of them could articulate the difference between dry and wet clutter. I would be happy if they could recognize a cord injury and knew enough to page out the on/call immediately when they saw one.


                I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but...

                how much training do offiers get on recognizing child abuse in the basic academy? Usually close to none!

                Officers encounter kids every day who are very likely to be abused. Many officers come to recognize it, but how much FORMAL training do we give them? The places that train up their average line officers on child abuse are few and far between.



                • #9
                  Regardless of the terrible effects of emotional abuse it is not illegal here or in most places as far as I know. That means that even if we were trained to detect it there is nothing police can do about it. If it occurs in a situation in which there is no physical abuse or other factor which would end up with police at the doorstep chances are we wouldn't even be there to deal with it.

                  I know most of us are trained to offer referrals to people involved in domestic disputes and domestic assaults. The referrals my department uses are outside agencies (victim services etc) and they offer all kinds of support including counseling which I imagine would deal with the emotional context of the abuse.

                  In the few cases I've had dealing with somebody outside of the domestic dispute/violence call in which I suspected abuse of some kind I've suggested and offered the referrals. Other than that there is nothing I can do as an officer in the context of emotional abuse. As it is simply not illegal I have no training or tools other than offering referrals.
                  I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones


                  • #10
                    No, emotional abuse is not illegal and would be hard to prove. I believe a person being abused this way has the best chance of being helped by outside family and school. A lot of times, an abuser will back off if they think someone is aware and watching. This is what my mother did when I was a junior in high school. They questioned,at school, some things they saw and mother pulled the abuse back until I graduated. To them, she was Mother Teresa and they had no choice to to go by what they saw. Yet at home, they did not see how she controlled us with refusing to speak to us, with stares, with body stances. No one else noticed the emotional abuse but she let us know she was still in control. We were scared to death of her. Part of me still is, even tho she is so elderly now.
                    Yet, when we graduated, Mommie Dearest returned and our nightmare with it.
                    When I married, Mother made the wedding a nightmare. Her own sister, my aunt, said to me, "You look beautiful.....and if you ever speak to your mother again, you are a better person then I am."
                    Very little can be done legally about emotional abusers. It usually has to be the abused them selves that, like I did, seek psychological help later in life.


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