Why internal reviews don't work and are a waste of tax payers money

Why internal reviews don’t work and are a waste of taxpayers’ money.

An opinion and review piece in response to an article in the Otago Daily Times, NZ in conjunction with the Inquiry into Tony Douglas Robertson’s management before and after his release from prison 2013.

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/crime/conditions-release-amended

On the 24th May 2014, Blessie Gotingco, was walking home when she was deliberately driven into by Tony Douglas Robertson. It wasn’t a fatal collision, but one that resulted in serious injuries which ensured that she could not fight back or sound an alarm. It gave Robertson the opportunity he had been prowling that same street and area for; to kidnap someone, place her in the boot of the car he was driving, and take her home where he sexually assaulted and murdered her before disposing of her body. The fact he was driving a car he wasn’t legally able to drive, one that Corrections had allowed him to drive, despite a report from a highly secret unit set up specifically for this purpose saying it should not be allowed; fell on deaf ears.

The public thought it a ‘bestial’ act. And after public pressure, and a personal meeting with Blessie’s family and their victim advocate Ruth Money, the Hon Amy Adams and Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Ministers for Justice and Corrections respectively, agreed to an internal inquiry.

The family, and Ruth Money, wanted an independent one, and if it had not been for the intervention of Amy Adams, there might have been nothing. Both Ruth, and I knew, it was a weak second best, but it was at least something.

What has this case got to do with Duffy? Bear with me, it will be worth the wait.

January 2016, New Zealand, the inquiry report on Tony Douglas Robertson’s management by New Zealand Corrections was released. The family of Blessie Gotingco, their victim advocate Ruth Money, and other concerned parties eagerly read the report. I guess we were still hoping that a sense of duty and decency would prevail. The fact that Sam Lotu-Iiga had left his office and been replaced by ‘Crusher’ Collins just a month before, should have informed us of the prevailing winds. When you bat or play for the victim though, hope is a by-word for motivation. You must keep going. The Hon Judith Collins, new in, received the report and went with it.

Pat yourself on the back Corrections a very difficult job done well, said Judith Collins.

Blessie’s family were rightly devastated. They couldn’t quite believe that the bottom line was that Robertson, was simply too good for New Zealand, and although everybody had tried their best, nothing more could have been done. That the only person to blame was the offender.

But was this really the case? Well, it certainly followed the final Inquiry report, chaired and signed off by Mel Smith. The only way anybody would know any different was if you had intimate knowledge of the case and, or, been successful in obtaining the many thousands of relevant documents relating to it from the Courts Police, Corrections, other Govt departments, inquiry transcripts, all under Official Information Act disclosure. If one person had that material, understood it from a position of experience and knowledge, then was Mel Smith’s concluding report accurate? Did it really reflect the information and evidence surrounding the case? My summary at the time was;

I agree with Mel Smith, the chairman of the government inquiry, this is a story of tragic loss. However, having reviewed all the material provided to me, I do not, and cannot agree that Police and Corrections carried out a difficult task well. The matter of hindsight is mentioned many times by both the inquiry and staff giving evidence, and yet the key staff involved had several instruments at their disposal which would have afforded them foresight had they used them. The findings of the Corrections department are that this crime could not have been prevented, and that Blessie, in effect, was destined to die on that day, that Tony Robertson was too good and too determined for them, and it is not their fault. I do not agree that she had to die that day and this report sets out the reasons why. Following in the words of Antonio Gotingco; if you have a snake and you put it the chicken house, do not be surprised about the outcome. Here we know we have a snake; Robertson was an extra familial and stranger child sex offender who abducted to offend, who spent his many years in prison refusing all efforts of engagement, and in denial of his offences. Most of his prison time was spent in solitary or super max conditions; he had over 50 citations of abuse and violence recorded against him, he was violent when confronted over his offending, and in the words of the psychologist was, right up there when it came to high risk; so, you know you have a snake that is in the top 1% of worst snakes. When you take that snake and place in it the chicken house, or in this case the public arena, it is vital to use the foresight that knowledge of your snake affords you, and to use all proactive policing tools to protect potential victims and to neutralise the otherwise predictability of the outcome. It is done elsewhere, I have done it many times from 2006 onwards, there were other options, there was another way, and this case was no different. Blessie could have lived.

That Inquiry was closure for the Government. The family regarded it as a whitewash; and from all the facts, had the exact same thing happened in a country where corporate manslaughter existed, it would have at least been investigated for criminal liability. But there is no corporate manslaughter legislation in New Zealand.

But what has all this got to do with the case of Sam Samson Duffy!

If you can focus on Mel Smith’s Inquiry Report and its recommendations, it has a proverbial ‘shit load’ of things to do with it. The rub here is very simple; if the recommendations are not heeded then the report is a waste of time and money, if agencies just refuse to act on them, then it is still a waste of time and money.

Duffy, like Robertson, got a lengthy jail sentence for sexual abuse against children. Like Robertson, he got denied parole, in Duffy’s case seven times. Like Robertson, Duffy, was in denial and refused treatment and was considered as untreated by Corrections (if you have read my other posts you know what that really means). From the news report timeline, like Robertson, Duffy, was being released as a time served prisoner on licence conditions. In Duffy’s case his was to be standard conditions and he was being released with no plan. Like all parole board cases, conditions can only last for six months.

Duffy would have been allocated a prison case manager and typically before release, some time from after the last parole hearing, so plenty of time to plan, they would communicate with probation officers, probably the officer allocated to him on release, to form a ‘pre-release plan’. It considers things such as, is the case simple or complex, risk ratings, accommodation, family, community support, employment, health needs amongst other things.

As an untreated time served sex offender Duffy, in my opinion, can only have had a classification of high risk. Both the prison case officer and probation would know this, as the opening screen of the offenders file on Corrections Integrated Offender Management System, contains his assessed risk level, sometimes known as a ‘banner risk’. Here are some things that Mel Smith’s Inquiry said should happen after the Robertson Inquiry, all applicable here and highlighted in italics;

The increased likelihood of reoffending by long-term prisoners who have served their full sentence-frequently without attending rehabilitation programmes-makes it imperative planning for their release is carefully considered and starts early. This is doubly so with a high-risk offender.

Corrections would have had to consider accommodation, where he was going to reside on release. They cannot by any stretch of the imagination have carefully considered it, if they were going to place him back into the same location of his victims. Was the victim even spoken to or considered?

Considering proposals for release also must be early enough to help develop and seek approval for any special conditions on a prisoners release, including any proposed limits or obligations to be imposed on an offender, such as areas where the offender cannot go.

Did Corrections develop special conditions? No. Initial release was scheduled with standard conditions only. The fact they now consider them necessary should not have been contingent on the mother of one of the victims raising concerns.

In my opinion, with the similarities between Robertson and Duffy when it comes to pre-release planning the following applies;

With a release date set, Corrections had two options for his supervision: seek special release conditions lasting up to six months and or seek an extended supervision order for up to 10 years.

Did they do either? No. Have they done so now? Partly, yes.

Even though only standard conditions were applied for under the Parole Act 2002 the Parole Board does have discretion to impose special conditions for the same six months if they feel it appropriate. It must be questioned why they did so later and yet failed to do so in the first hearing.

The special conditions available for an extended supervision order are identical to those applicable to any offender released from prison except they last much longer and can require “intensive person-to-person monitoring” for up to a year. Such monitoring can involve a Corrections appointed person supervising the offender round the clock.

Why did Corrections not initially apply straight for an ESO? The offender fits the criteria and I am pretty sure they will be doing so before his conditions expire.

The penalty for any breach of any condition of an extended supervision order is up to two years’ imprisonment. Compared with one year maximum for breach of parole or release conditions

In my experience in managing sex offenders in the community it helps to have two things on the table front and centre. One, a victim strategy and two, a deterrent. None of that was present on the first hearing.

The following is a combined set of views from the Robertson Inquiry;

Corrections favoured extended supervision orders taking effect when release conditions end. In the inquiry’s view, this approach needlessly duplicates the process of obtaining assessments. It is also the inquiry’s view that high risk prisoners who serve their entire long-term sentence and who have not acknowledged their offending should be the focus of much earlier release planning and more coordinated efforts. In this case, applying solely for an extended supervision order would have better focused resources.

Was any of this undertaken in the first hearing?

No.

From a pre-release planning aspect and management in the community, Robertson’s and Duffy’s cases are similar enough. Duffy refused to attend treatment, acknowledge his crimes, and was unwilling to attend a parole hearing. It can only be expected that upon release, Duffy will be a challenge to manage. Standard conditions in his victims’ back yard as a plan to manage those challenges, beggars belief.

Corrections have what is known as ‘high risk’ advisors. They lend assistance by way of advice. We don’t know if they were involved. I can only guess not, because if they were, then why did they not recommend an ESO from the outset, or at least special conditions, and imposition of psychological assessment upon release. Duffy fits all the criteria, the fact they are doing so now appears to me there were major operational failings and a failure to heed the Robertson Inquiry Report.

Again, bearing in mind the similarities;

It is the inquiry’s view that Corrections should have assessed Robertson for an extended supervision order and, if recommended, applied for one when it became clear he was unlikely to complete rehabilitation before the end of his sentence…..

Yes, this applies in Duffy’s case, I suspect they will do so in the future, and should have done so from the outset.

The efficient management of offenders, particularly high-risk, long-term offenders, demands a concerted effort by all of Corrections’ available expertise, whether case managers in prisons, probation officers, psychologists or officers from the high-risk team and intelligence group. A combined approach of this sort is necessary in the interests of both the offender and the safety of the public. It is also likely to be more efficient.

Any of this apparent in Duffy’s case? Zip.

Corrections had ample opportunity to assess and apply for an extended supervision order, so that, if made, it could have come into effect on the day of Robertson’s release.

This applies to the case of Duffy just as it did Robertson. How this case got to the stage it did without the mother’s intervention is mind boggling and shows that internal inquiries never have the clout to bring about real change.

A prison case manager would have had knowledge of the facts surrounding Duffy’s offending, as would the probation officer that was going to be responsible for his management in the community. Accommodation is a real issue for Corrections and so it would have come up very early in their planning with Duffy. How they concluded that putting him back into the area of his victims displays that they have learnt nothing from the Robertson Inquiry, and fails to take into account their own guidelines of which there are many but include; other matters to weigh up include proximity to victims….Corrections staff also need to check with appropriate organisations such as Police, Child, Youth and Family and mental health teams to find out if they approve of the proposed address.

Did Corrections work to their own guidelines and that of the Inquiry?

Did they inform Police? If they did, was it the Police who alerted the mother of the victims? What was their view on Duffy being released back into the same location? I would like to think that they objected strenuously.

Robertson Inquiry absolute recommendations pre-release;

13. Corrections should seek the advice of its own psychologists before recommending any special condition to the Parole Board that involves a psychological assessment or treatment

Was that done on the first hearing?

No. Can’t have done as there were no special conditions in the first hearing. They cannot go back in time and say that standards conditions were sufficent, because they have since applied for special conditions.

14. Corrections should advise the Parole Board of any special condition suggested by the centre for impact on sexual offending, but declined by Corrections, and the reasons for declining it.

There is no mention about this in the article, and I wouldn’t expect there to be. CISO is that small secret unit I talked about earlier. In part, the seed of thought for this unit was formed following the visit by Hon Anne Tolley to CEOP, in the UK, as part of her evidence gathering for the introduction of the Sex Offenders Register in New Zealand. The two-line recommendation says very little to the untrained eye.

To someone who has knowledge of every single document, every single transcript released under OIA relating to the Robertson inquiry, and how joint sexual offending intelligence gathering and dissemination groups work; then it is simply at the very heart of what would have given rise to the rebuttal of the ‘mantra’ from Corrections and the Inquiry, ‘that it is with only hindsight, that they can be held accountable’.

It was CISO that sent them intelligence documents that afforded them the foresight of what was about to happen. Documents from one government department, set up and financed jointly by Police, Corrections and others for exactly this type of case, and then ignored by one of them.

So, this recommendation partly deals with that, but also tells us that CISO was probably not involved where they should have been in the Duffy case. I am sure had they, they would not have endorsed the initial no plan, no victim strategy approach.

15. Corrections should manage offenders who are released on conditions and who are also the subject of an extended supervision order application at the highest management level.

Agreed, Duffy is not yet subject of an application, Corrections though have since stated that he will now be considered for it. He must be, as he now has the same conditions as an ESO, this set though only lasts for six months. The issue here is that Duffy was applicable for one before release and was initially set for standard conditions only and being accommodated in the same location as his victims. Highest standard of management? Not a chance.

17. Corrections should offer to probation staff more frequent refresher training in managing high-risk sex offenders, including the use of risk assessment tools.

To be balanced here, it isn’t that clear whether the prison case manager, or the probation officer had the lead on the initial application, but either way, it is staggering they came to the decision they did and shows a complete lack of victim awareness and the risk assessment of sex offenders. This is true by simple fact they are now treating Duffy in accordance with the Inquiry recommendations, on the same level as if he were on an ESO.

19. Corrections should consider expanding the role of high-risk advisors to include providing day-to-day advice and support to probation officers.

This expansion may well have taken place, but were they involved in providing advice? If so, what? Duffy can only be described as high risk, no matter who or what risk assessment is used. He failed to engage in prison for his entire period, he was time served, he refused to admit his guilt or show any remorse, he is in denial and untreated, (as if that would make any difference in his case). On the face of it, I would have to guess they weren’t involved when they should have been. A word of warning about risk assessments. They cannot predict what an offender will do. At best they are general possibility indicators.

As an observer who knows a thing or two about managing high risk sex offenders in the community; monitoring and surveilling them; managing the intelligence capture, gathering, analytical process and dissemination of an equivalent CISO team; working with, to, and from, a sex offenders register;  I am amazed that the standard conditions even got as far as the parole board let alone past them in the first hearing. The fact they have admitted issues were not adequately addressed is evident that the application before them initially was not fit for purpose. The Robertson inquiry also fully supported risk assessment training for parole boards and courts. My guess is that hasn’t been done, because if it had the parole board would have bounced the application back.

If the mother had not sounded the alarm loud enough the possible consequences don’t bear thinking about.

This where my amazement though, turns to disbelief and dismay. Taken in context with the Robertson Inquiry, lessons have not been learnt. The reasons for it are many and varied, but most will eventually wind its way back to arrogance. Victims are continually not placed at the heart of the decision-making process. It is one thing to be educated, another thing to act on that education. Not my words, but applicable here.

Internal reviews are not independent, far from it, and this case proves that Corrections cannot or will not learn from their past mistakes. Simply, Corrections didn’t think they were at fault in the first place and when the Inquiry agreed, on came the green light.

Fast forward and here we are today.

Andy Milne’s statement that they will now be considering applying for an ESO is all about optics. The truth of the matter is very different and inextricably linked to the Robertson Inquiry.

After a time, I considered that my paper copy of the Inquiry report was only good for lighting my fire on a cold winter’s morning.

Maybe, it will be of some use after all.

How a past social experiment fails New Zealand

How a past social experiment fails New Zealand, aides the minds of sexual groomers, and became embossed on our, ‘Kiwi DIY is in our DNA’.

Opinion piece in response to an article written by Rob Kidd a journalist for the Otago Daily Times, NZ.

https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/crime/porn-files-accessed-again

 

The case of Samuel Ebdell before Dunedin District Court was, according to Judge Emma Smith, and reported on by Otago Daily Times Crime reporter Rob Kidd, ‘highly unusual’, but was it? And if it was, for what reason should it have been, and, how is this case linked to a New Zealand social experiment that assists the minds of sexual groomers?

The case before Judge Smith was a bit of déjà vu for some in the court room. The charges were the same, the facts of the case were the same, the objectionable child abuse material was the same, the defendant was the same. The main, and probably only difference were the dates of the charges, and the fact that Judge Smith was now the Judge, and not Judge John Macdonald.

The other item that was the same; another ubiquitous case of NZ pro offender-itus.

As with nearly all crime reports of this nature, the devil is in the detail, and the reporter’s role in it is a difficult one to bring balance, fairness and truth in a complex story that their public will want to read in a few minutes from mobile devices.

When I read the story, I felt the victims (all of them), saw the intelligence gaps, the risks, education, safeguarding and the recurring failure to place the victim at the core of the judicial system in favour of a chimera: that an offender can be saved by therapy, and that once therapy is delivered, he will be cured.

Risk averted.

I have never once witnessed in a New Zealand court a Judge ask, of even consider, if the offender was suitable for therapy. There may have been some, but in my opinion, they are in the minority.

My son attended law school in NZ and tells me the word, ‘victim’ was not mentioned once until the third year, and then it was in another topic that had no salience with it. Rape and restorative justice as a means of case disposal was however, a very hot topic in year one.

Anybody who knows me well enough, follows me, reads my opinions in this field, or has worked with me in it, will know that I fully support therapy. I believe it has a valuable place in an overall management plan. It has a crucial role in the management of online offenders, particularly to young adults who are living with that urge and who are trying not to act on it. If there was ever one area, apart from enforcement, that needed investment, that area would be it. Judicial reality though, is very different. Our system is tilted very much in the favour of the offender and that shines through in this case, yet again.

One of the biggest misconceptions of therapy is that all offenders are suitable, when in fact most are not. Any that are suitable, enter and leave therapy in some form of denial. It is not a cure; it is a management plan.

The question for me is why, how did we get here, and why is it we just seem to accept the risks without question, when in our daily lives up and down the land; common sense and a can do attitude of DIY is in our DNA is who we are.

As I have said before, clinicians who devote their lives to working with solely offenders have my full admiration. I couldn’t do it. In some way though, I feel a twisted sense of umbilical attachment to them, in that I have kept them in work with a steady stream of clients. After all, if it wasn’t for me and others like me, they wouldn’t be in a job.

So how is a social experiment linked to a sexual groomer and child sex offender?

The word, ‘unusual’ in this case was highlighted by the Judge. I would agree it is, but for none of the reasons which appear to have been mentioned at court. This case is not just about an online offender. It is about an online offender who is prepared to offend in the real world, and to aid in that offending use grooming, coercion, blackmail and threats. In comparison to the numbers who just offend online, or just groom online and hide behind the environment they operate in, this offender has taken all three steps in one very short space of time; into the real world.

Yes, now that is unusual.

I was the author of the publicly funded serious case review into the death of Blessie Gotingco. During that review I used the Spiral of Abuse or Brick Wall model used by Dr Joe Sullivan, Forensic Psychologist, (someone who I have worked with before). That case, and others, form part of an education, safeguarding and early intervention package available through this website. Using the available information, I have placed the offender on it. Whilst I do not have the full intelligence picture, certain conclusions can be made. The offender has reached the bottom of the model. The rate in which he got there was rapid, and although the offender may not progress further; in severity levels, where to next?

Unusual? Yep, for sure.

What is going on inside the mind of a child sex abuser who grooms their victims and is prepared to blackmail them both on and offline? Well, they are the best undercover officer or actor of all time. They are patient, they are planners, they are manipulators and yet at the same time plausible. They are convincing and driven by their sexual urge for children. They can be aggressive and act like a bully, then change to providing romantic support and understanding within seconds. They can be controlling, threatening, and intimidating all at the same time. They use distortive thinking strategies to overcome their actions. Some have bouts of guilt, shame and embarrassment. Some may consider confiding, but the legal consequences stop them. Above all though, they are liars.

Was there any demonstrable level of understanding about the sexual grooming processes in this case, an in-depth understanding of the gravity and risks, not a passing comment to red flags, but a clear understanding of therapy within an overall management plan? Was there any real victimology used and was it placed first at the core of everything? The second case indicates that the police and probation failed to identify and capture the cloud cache in the first investigation. Was there ever an online management plan to stop the offender using any electronic device and access to the internet in the first case? If so, he must have breached that, so I assume there wasn’t or in the best very case scenario was he monitored effectively?

Leaving the sex offenders register aside until later, the statement that he ‘technically downloaded’ the material for a second time in my opinion is something that should never have been allowed to occur had an effective management plan been in place from the first investigation and case disposal. I want to be clear here, I don’t know enough from the just the facts in the article, but I remind any reader to the section regarding how a groomers mind works. And as an expert in this field, I can say without hesitation that there is no such thing as ‘technical’ downloading and still be charged back before the court. You are either in possession or not in possession. Offenders who operate online are tech savvy, they know what a cloud account is and how to recover from it.

I can’t fully deal with the failure of placing the victim first without dealing with the sex offender register, but I must say this now; in both cases, the victims’ voice was not placed at the core of sentencing. Had they been it would have driven a victim centred management plan and the children in the child abuse material would not have been victimised a second time. There can be no excuse for further revictimisation.

Plain fact is, we will always run the risk of sentencing like this because we have a judicial system that is tilted in favour of the offender. How we got here though is a complex and difficult question, hard to see, feel, and grasp. There is one factor which, although does not apply in this case, in my view does go some way to a possible explanation.

Name suppression.

There are good and necessary reasons for name suppression such as juveniles, child victims, child witnesses etc. Law experts argue that the media and other commenters cannot be trusted to report in a balanced way. The media argue that name suppression outside of the obvious ones hinders open justice, public interest and transparent democracy. Global connectivity within seconds has tied court orders to New Zealand media only, making them outdated at least.

The argument of a fair trial exists only in that there is legislation in existence that covers it, not because they couldn’t or wouldn’t. Permanent name suppression is on the way down, and media corporations regularly club together to challenge court decisions in this area.

I’m not talking about any of that.

I am talking about a period when New Zealand had blanket name suppression for everybody, for every offence. Taking politics out of the equation, including modern day governance, and their links to it, that implementation is a major social experiment, one lost to memory, but one with far reaching effects decades after. That sort of process, thinking, planning and implementation takes a certain type of ideology to create, motivate and deploy over an entire nation, and would have found some support in the judicial sector. There have been some changes to it since then, but as generations have come along since, they look at the landscape and see it as something that has always been there and so it becomes part of their culture, even if it doesn’t sit well on top of how they’ve been brought up. Embossed on them from Government. It was an ideology that irrespective of what your political thoughts were, benefitted the offender over the victim, and so it has been ever since.

There are good, balanced and victim centric judgements up and down the land, but there are still a great many that put the offender first. I work with victim advocates and see and read the cases, they can be picked out as coming from New Zealand without identifying features. There is a method to them. Age is one that really sticks out.

How does that assist the mind of a sexual groomer? Well, if there is no deterrent, no control, no management, no understanding, then the system will allow the groomer to hide in plain sight. A process that considers the plight of the offender first will allow all the behavioural traits, the mind of the child sex offender, room to operate without fear of retributive justice.

Without knowing more surrounding the facts of the case it is difficult to comment accurately and victim advocates who apply for transcripts from the court are mostly refused even when there is good argument. One thing that is clear though, the offender was not placed on the sex offenders register. The article does not detail the categorisation of the child abuse material, any chat logs that may surround them, numbers, number of times they were accessed; but does mention age of victims. Indeed, the court may never have had any of these facts.

If an offender does not get prison, then it is up to the court to decide if that offender should be placed on the sex offenders register. As the Judge declined to place him on it, one must assume he was at some stage due to his age a ‘registrable’ offender. That means the court then must satisfy themselves that the person poses a risk to lives or sexual safety of one or more children or of children generally. To help them they must consider a range of risk factors.

We don’t know the findings of the Judge, however, knowing the legislation as I do, to come up with a decision to not place him on the register would mean that either the risk was deemed as not present or they were taken as mitigating factors when in fact they can only be risks, such as age of the offender. The offender was in possession of child abuse material on children as young as three. These images are not just lying around the internet just waiting to be downloaded by some unsuspecting browser. You must infiltrate and communicate with others or dark web sites to get them or know of P2P addresses that give you access. You must have a motivation to get them. A motivation that is driven by a sexual desire for children.

Anybody who goes to this level of action online is a threat to children globally. The fact that the offender is willing to offend on and offline, is high risk, highly unusual, and places him towards the top on my child threat matrix.

The decision to not place him on the register was in my opinion was wrong, another example of ‘Pro Offender-itus’, and another example of non victim centric case disposal. Offender first, victim second.

Solutions?

Yes. Police must up their game in forensic examination and the depth of which officers can submit hardware for examination. That needs investment from the centre and on top of what they already have.

Police should employ one or more full time forensic psychologists who work for the police and go to court. Down stream monitor interviews or review case files and recorded interviews. Bring the other side of the therapy argument to court. Stop giving the defence free reign. At the end of the day the court can only dispose on what is presented before it.

Crown law should consider a challenge on the court’s decision to not make the offender a ‘registrable’ one. At some point he was 18 or older. Who spoke for the children in those images?

The two secondary school victims, what education did they have to identify grooming when it was being applied and what action to take? Had those two children been empowered through education they may never have fallen victim. A starting point for that is Ineqe.com which I am associated with and the Southern Hemisphere contact for. Safer Schools equals safer kids. Get the app. Help, education and empowerment only a swipe away on their mobile devices. If the school is insured through Zurich Municipal they get the app bespoke to their school for free. It’s a no brainer and most UK schools think so as well.

There was great deal more to this case than met the eye, the reporter and the ODT did a great job in bringing it to the attention of the public. I view it as safeguarding in action. I truly hope that the offender in this case will stop and never offend again, even if my experience tells me hope is never a good plan when dealing with child sex offenders. The Judge has made a prediction. I will make a different sort of one.

Ebdell will never go on the sex offenders register for a period of 8 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Victims Regard Anti Grooming Training a Life Skill

Why Victims Regard Anti Grooming Training a Life Skill

Opinion piece in response to article written by Donna-Lee Biddle, a Waikato social issues journalist for the Stuff NZ.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/112503883/tokoroa-sex-offender-teaching-dance-students

The role of the media in reporting on matters involving child sex abuse has long been seen in a positive light by some, in that it helps to bring matters to public attention thereby helping to deter future offending. Others feel that it works against the offender when the time comes to reintegrate. It can be a difficult subject to balance; and not all countries are the same.

The US are going to name all paedophiles as such in their passports and have an open registry, Indonesian offenders are to face chemical castration or execution. Australia is going to introduce another registry where all offenders will be named and shamed. In the UK recently a woman was charged with breaking the data conditions relating a Sarah’s Law disclosure from the Sex Offenders Register, her case was dropped!

Helping sex offenders is controversial, and although not all Psychologists can agree on the best way to help them, there is no doubt in my mind it can prevent more abuse. The forensic clinicians working with offenders ultimately seek to minimise the risk of reoffending and aim to keep the community safe. It is not a job most of us would want to do, me included. However, as an internationally recognised expert in the monitoring and management of sex offenders in the community, something which I have received awards for, this story raises some very real concerns.

I am a New Zealander, and if all identifying features were removed from this article, I think I could have guessed it was a case from NZ. Apart from a small sentence at the end from Child Matters CEO, where was the victim’s voice? Without doubt the story brings the dangers to the public’s attention, but I can’t help feel that the story was all about the offender and did not grasp the real risks that were contained within it.

Great store was set by both Middlebrook and Dr Tamatea that Middlebrook and the community will be safe as strategies were in place for whilst at the club. But the fact is his offending did not take place at a club. More about this later, but the club was an environment which was part of Middlebrook’s grooming process to gain access to the child. So, parents, guardians, and whanua present is a very good thing, but it cannot be ignored that the previous offending took place away from a club. It is my opinion and that of other forensic psychologists I know, that offenders who commit their crimes ‘hands on’ will always have the urge to offend, it is just a matter of whether it is controlled or not. ‘Hands on’ is also at the top of the risk table when making assessments. So, to place the offender back into the same environment, one which was part of the grooming process almost beggars belief.

If Middlebrook had been a school teacher, a doctor, nurse or police officer, would any of them been put back to work, back into the same environment after their sentence? As I have been involved in cases involving all those professions, I can say no, that would not be the case. Which sort of brings me to my biggest concern, has the sexual grooming process been fully understood? As the author of a New Zealand specific early identification sexual grooming training package the content of which all comes from peer reviewed papers from the sector, I feel I must speak up.

For those who know, sorry to bore you, but for those who don’t, there are three main parts to the sexual grooming process. One, direct grooming of the child. Two, grooming of the environment. And three, grooming of a significant other. Two and three are undertaken to achieve number one. Clinicians use industry proven risk models to help them assess if a person is of risk, and if so, how high. The information comes from direct questioning between the psychologist and the offender. The problem with this method is that the information comes from a very skilled and accomplished groomer, as all child sex offenders are. Despite the clinician’s best intentions, they are sometimes outwitted, leading to disastrous outcomes. Many in this field will tell you that professionals are the worst at telling if they are being groomed because there is an inherent belief it should not be possible. In all probability parents, guardians or whanua are more at risk to not knowing or understanding the signs of grooming.

Whether Middlebrook has groomed significant others, such as his clinician, the club, the committee, and the parents only time will tell. The problem is, by then it will be too late, and the risk is further compounded by the fact that none of them are trained in anti-grooming skills to know if they have been or are being groomed. As for the environment, Middlebrook has achieved that, he is back where he started, and for me that is an unacceptable and avoidable risk.

Grooming plays a part in all sexual offences and domestic violence, the latter we are unfortunately world leaders in. Anti-grooming training is early intervention. Early intervention saves lives, saves victims, and saves billions of tax dollars further down the line. It is a ‘no brainer’. It is a life skill we are failing to recognise as such.

To the journo’s credit the story itself, is essentially one about offender rehabilitation, and is a minefield. Maybe the purpose was to raise the issue, deter and allow debate, but the story uncovers real risks and I can’t help feeling that it fails to identify them as such. The victims’ voices are placed last when it should be front and centre. If we really want to show we are a country with a government who really cares about its victims, all its victims, all of the time, then I hope that the current justice review is really doing just that and not pretending to do so whilst it unlocks the gates to the prison.

The Dangers of Conning Oneself

The Dangers of Conning Oneself

Opinion piece in response to article written by Sam Sherwood, journalist for the Stuff NZ https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/112414249/roadrage-victim-gave-police-offenders-car-rego--policy-meant-they-didnt-follow-up

 

As the expected chilly wind blew through Wellington and the Beehive, an excellent piece of investigative journalism was about to hit the front page, the details of which would have already been known to senior police chiefs and most probably the Minister of Police, and therefore the Cabinet. Something killed it dead in the corridors of power and it wasn’t the wind; could it have been that on an international populist stage it just couldn’t stack up to taking your baby to the UN, banning plastic bags, or romantic engagements? Afterall, it is bad news versus good news!

There would have been the ubiquitous defence response from within; that this was of the Police’s own making and they can take the flak for it, no further contagion thanks. The result? Police took to defending themselves pointing the strategic finger elsewhere, using language that fell straight into the empty domestic political space where the omnipresent opposition should have been, but weren’t. Luckily it was caught by the waiting hands of a rare commodity these days, an investigative journo.

So, what is the story? Well, initially it is very straight forward. Female motorcyclist stops to let two elderly people with pedal cycles use a crossing at an intersection in Christchurch. The following car takes offence, driver gets out, violently threatens and abuses the motorcyclist. He drives off. Motorcyclist, who has previously been a domestic violence victim, gets the rego. Driver realises, stops again and follows it up with a second threatening attack. Victim who is reduced to tears, reports the offence to police complete with excellent descriptions, evidence and witness statements.

To the general public who put our politicians in power, this reads as a straight, ‘walk up’ matter for Police, not an urgent matter, but one that needs to be dealt with appropriately. What the victim didn’t know was that Police policy in Canterbury had changed. From one where they dealt with matters of a violent nature, to one of just not dealing with it and closing the case. A policy had evolved which allowed supervising officers to decide what cases to bin, and which would be followed up.

When the victim found out; she thought surely this just cannot be right and contacted the Independent Police Conduct Authority, who, also thought this cannot be right and undertook an investigation. But it was right. Police in Canterbury were just closing files even where there were good leads. The nascent question forming is, why?

With the policy exposed Police fronted up through local management and curiously the Police Federation, hinting at their defence to come. Their rational is that they were over stretched and therefore had to prioritise work. To be fair here to Police, they are seriously unfunded and have been for a great many years, if not always. Any Police media release goes through corporate communications, so it is important to realise that when they said prioritise, they did not mean ‘handling matters relative to their importance’, they meant completely ignoring some crime as if it never happened. Somebody, somewhere, twisted the meaning of ‘prioritise’ and from there it’s a few short steps to the slippery slopes of losing public confidence.

Step one, which should be at the forefront of any crime prevention manager’s thoughts; victims. The victim’s perception of the event is the one that should be placed front and centre. How was this case disposal arrived at? It stinks of a well-known NZ phrase of, harden the **** up. So, you were scared and made to cry, not good enough for a crime in NZ. They have pretended and conned themselves that there is no victim, especially heinous when there are witnesses and evidence. And to try and justify it by saying that they are over stretched demeans policing globally. Forces in both hemispheres have been decimated whilst demands on them have increased hugely. NZ is no different to any other policing service and it is shameful that they have dumped this case because somebody thinks the crime wasn’t serious enough, and then bleat about their own circumstances in an attempt to justify it once exposed.

With the Justice Review currently taking place one can only wonder why there was no immediate fronting up of either the Policing Minister or Andrew Little. It is a national matter, there is only one police service and they have been cooking the books, with victims at the heart of it. If this can’t get their mouths open what will? The issue of stats is a real concern, were screened out crimes eventually recorded as no crimes or as solved crimes? Whichever one it is it has there are problems with conning yourself, one is a knock-on effect with stats, it can make you appear efficient in other categories when that is not the case. You lose track of what reality is, running the risk of placing other innocents at risk.

Step two. Corruption, code of conduct, or prioritising workloads. Which one is it? Well, we already know the definition of prioritising. As an expert in police code of conduct matters, it is my opinion, from the facts published, it would breach at least one of the codes of conduct in New Zealand, all Australian States, and all 42 Police Forces of the UK. The policy was created, owned and authorised by someone. To fob the matter off with, ‘we can only do so much’ and ‘we are stretched’ places the good work done at the thin blue line in real jeopardy. It is those very officers who police by the public’s consent and they need the support and the confidence of the public to do so. The lack of transparent resolution from the IPCA and Police in relation to conduct looks soft and smells of fudge, which can only add further insult to the victim. Cooking the books has never, and will never work, and leads to loss of confidence. As an example, I asked a serving Australian Police Officer to read the article, his immediate reply was ‘That’s just plain corrupt’. Codes of conduct are there for a reason and they will work against you if the public has no confidence in its transparency.

Finally, leadership. The policy involved is a strategic matter and therefore both Police Chiefs and politicians are directly responsible for it being allowed to be in existence underneath them. All senior officers, irrespective of rank, should be operating on a bottom up top down basis, and there is no excuse for not knowing, especially when it is policy and strategy. At a time when we and the world seem to be obsessed with how great and shiny our leader is, it somehow doesn’t sit quite right with this catastrophic failure happening here and now and on her watch.

Just as concerning though, and possibly more, is when a journalist starts to fill the domestic void where the opposition party should be. It’s the adage of ‘the current government is only as good as the opposition’. If our opposition leader can’t hold our current leader to account for grave failures, then it’s just a matter of time until someone else steps forward who is prepared to do so.

Public perception and trust in the police must in of itself be managed and policed as well as earnt. Maybe, with clear and transparent leadership and time, this victim may once again come to trust and have confidence in them. But I for one, I’m not holding my breath.

 

 

Press release-Hope Without Borders Chinese Translation project

Ian R. Tyler Announces Launch of Kickstarter Campaign to Translate Hope Without Borders into Chinese – and Fight Child Sex Offenders

A new crowdfunding campaign has been launched to translate the “Hope Without Borders” series into Chinese.  “Hope Without Borders” is an important series of fiction based on fact novels that expose the nature of online child sex abuse and the hard work done to prosecute these criminals and protect children across the world.  With 20% of the world reading Chinese, the translation is vitally important.

August 22, 2016

Child sex abuse is rampant on the internet and touches every nation and culture.  With over 20% of the world speaking Chinese, this makes the fact that there is little information available in Chinese combating this criminal drive frightening.  Author Ian R. Tyler, the man behind the “Hope Without Borders” trilogy, addresses these issues in a real and serious way; hoping to help alert Chinese language speakers to the nature of this threat.  Tyler recently announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to translate the “Hope Without Borders” trilogy into Chinese, as a way to introduce Chinese speakers to the threat posed by child sex offenders online via the fiction based on fact stories, rather than less likely to be read non-fiction exposés or other less appealing methods of learning.

“The ‘Hope Without Borders’ series of novels are inspired by my work in child protection,” commented Tyler.  “These stories are based on real life and very frightening child abuse cases that occur online and are investigated both in the online and real world. The stories depicted in these novels are based on the truth and they serve as both a lesson, and a warning to the world.  With 20% of the world population speaking Chinese I feel it's vital they learn about these crimes and risks, so that Chinese language speakers can protect their families and are inspired to expose these criminals.  Every donation could literally save a child's life.”

According to Tyler, the hard work of finding talented and willing translators has been accomplished, but they are unable to dedicate the time to do the translation without being paid.    This is where the crowdfunding campaign comes in and those interested in helping protect children from international child sex abusers can help.  Even very small donations are greatly appreciated.

The campaign has set a goal of 25,000 NZD to pay the translators and complete the other necessary work needed to come to market with “Hope Without Borders” in Chinese.

The series has won a great deal of praise for its English version both in the US and UK.

Heather C., recently said in a five-star Amazon review of “Hope Arises”, the first book in the “Hope Without Borders” series, “This is a novel about a very difficult and unpleasant aspect of life but is still one that should be told. The child abuse aspect is dealt with sensitively and much is left to the reader to imagine and the main story focuses on the pursuit of the offenders. The international aspect of such crimes is well explained and the author clearly has extensive knowledge of a world which most of us could never imagine. The description of what it is like to work in a police team on Child protection and the stress of trying to catch these abusers is portrayed with such realism you are totally hooked into the unfolding drama. I look forward to the next book and hope that this book is taken up and made into a film so that this story can be told to a wider audience.”

Media, email contact; www.ianrtyler.com

Kickstarter Link; https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hope-without-borders/hope-without-borders-trilogy-by-i-r-tyler-chinese

Kickstarter video link; https://youtu.be/joDv8waA3jM

QCBC announces Chinese translation Kickstarter project

QCBC has launched a Kickstarter translation project to fund the translation of the 'Hope Without Border' series into traditional Chinese, a language that represents 20% of the speaking world. More details will be made available in a press release in the next 24hrs; for now though, the Project can be found here

C.O.C.E.T available on Kindle

QCBC announces that following repeated demands, C.O.C.E.T, the new seat-of-your-pants blockbuster by author Ian R. Tyler will be available on the Kindle platform from 27th March 2016 NZST.

Authors shop open for business!

An author's shop has been added to Ian Tyler's website and it is now live. It provides the capability to buy novels using credit and debit cards. Purchasers through this route will get the option to have the novel signed personally by the author. Shipping rates apply, and are listed in the ordering process.

C.O.C.E.T release more news

The new novel C.O.C.E.T by Ian R. Tyler will be released 28.01.2016 New Zealand time and will be available through Amazon, Copy Press Nelson, NZ, and all good book stores. Shortly after release it will also be available through the authors shop on his website www.ianrtyler.com Any purchased this way will be personally signed by the author. New Zealand postal rates will apply and be advertised.

QCBC releases book trailer

QCBC and author Ian R. Tyler collaborated with Auckland VFX artist Sam Edmonds to make the following video. Check it out! Don't forget, if you want to get these updates and more, then turn your notifications on in Facebook, or save this blog.

Video Link

QCBC and Ruth Money reveal part of the C.O.C.E.T front cover

Ruth Money, private victim advocate, and media guru for QCBC and IR Tyler, says, Hope Arises fans will be pleased to see that C.O.C.E.T characters include Tom Ross, Jane King and Dr. Fiona Gordon, but that it also introduces new ones, as well developing others like Owen Marks and Anna Farley.

She has revealed that the foreword has been written by Jim Gamble QPM, the first CEO of CEOP UK, and, when it was still run as an independent National Child Protection agency. She says, 'This gives authenticity to the story and having now seen a bit more, you just can't make this stuff up!'

The full cover may be released in January a few days ahead of launch, but for now here is a little teaser below. More to come soon.

Video Link

Ruth has more info!-Interview with QCBC

Media guru Ruth says, "I haven't seen the manuscript myself, although I have had a sneak at one chapter, and I have just signed off on the media release, so I know a bit about the story. I will be leaking some details on what I know over the next few weeks."

Ruth further adds, "What I do know, and what is striking about COCET, and that of JK Rowling's latest book, is that they both contain narrative dealing with child abuse. One main difference here though; JK herself stated that her novel called for 'insane' planning. This hasn't been the case in COCET, as it is based on the truth, and therefore is known to Tyler intimately."

Ruth added, "COCET has a foreword written by The Police Chief at the time, (more about that on another blog), which lends credence to the story line. When you take this into consideration, COCET sets itself apart from most crime novels. Other story tellers pull away from the subject of child sex abuse; as do most publishers. Yet it has the dubious distinction of being responsible for the biggest increase in crime in most parts of the globe, let alone New Zealand, where we are one of the worst countries in the world for child abuse"

Ruth signs off with, "I will release part of the book cover next week along with details around the characters new and old. And more about the Police Chief, and what some of the advance reviewers had to say."

 

Ian R. Tyler releases name of forth coming novel

Ian R. Tyler reveals that the new and soon to be released novel is called C.O.C.E.T
- media manager and marketing guru Ruth Money, says, that the acronym stands for Combined Online Child Exploitation Taskforce- and that it will only be available in paperback to begin with. Ruth says more will be revealed about the book later this week.

I.R.Tyler listed in Writers to Watch in 2015

I.R.Tyler has been named in the writers to watch list for 2015, nominated by Real Marsha Wright, author of #1 Best Selling Book, SecretCollaborativeEconomy.com. Ian has recently featured on Campbell Live NZ and One News NZ providing expert insight and knowledge on paedophile criminal behaviour, and through the eyes of their many victims.