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The Fine Art of Institutional (Peripheral) Grooming (Domestic Violence, Child Abuse & Family Court)

(Image by Josee-holland

(Image by Josee-holland

An Art Being Perfected Under Shared Parenting Laws

A lot of people will have heard of the term "grooming", but most will think of the term only as it is used in the context of child sexual abuse. What many people do not consider, is that grooming is an art that is practiced by most perpetrators of any kind of abuse, and, I believe, particularly by perpetrators of family violence.


Institutional Grooming Defined and Explained

In the context of abuse, grooming refers to actions deliberately undertaken by a perpetrator with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a victim. The victim is "prepared" in this way, so they unwittingly allow abusive behavior or exploitation to occur later. The abuser typically befriends or builds a relationship with the victim in order to establish a relationship of trust.

Child grooming involves psychological manipulation in the form of positive reinforcement and foot-in-the-door tactics, using activities that are typically legal but later lead to illegal activities. This is done to gain the child's trust as well as the trust of those responsible for the child's well-being. Additionally, a trusting relationship with the family means the child's parents are less likely to believe potential accusations.

Although it is a common belief that grooming is most relevant to children, the same or similar psychological processes are used by perpetrators to exploit adults. In the case of adult grooming, the victims family and friends are also manipulated into thinking the perpetrator is a "nice guy" and that he can be trusted.

It is not only a perpetrator's victims that are groomed (which would be considered emotional abuse), but the victims' family and friends, the perpetrator's own family and friends, and even public servants and medical professionals (in which case it is purposeful manipulation).

The grooming of doctors, nurses, mental health carers, family support workers and other public servants is called "Institutional Grooming" and the perpetrator does it for the purpose of self-preservation.

Institutional grooming refers to the manipulation of professionals who have contact with the victim, so that any allegations of abuse made by the victim are doubted or outright disbelieved.

The targets of Institutional Groomers may include their victim's General Practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, child health nurse, pediatrician, carers at a Family Day Care Facility, school teachers, counselors or therapists. The public servants targeted may be social workers, case workers, investigative officers or police officers employed by government departments such as the Department For Child Protection, the Police's Family Protection Unit and the Department for Community Development. When done with enough finesse to be successful, institutional grooming ensures that any complaints alleged about the perpetrator are either disregarded outright, doubted and therefore not investigated thoroughly, or if acted upon, subsequently dismissed in a court of law.


Why would a perpetrator go to such lengths to manipulate people other than their victims? Because when their victims, the victims' family and friends, and the public service networks intended to support their victims are groomed successfully, the investment of all that hard work does not go to waste - the victims are then still available to continue to abuse.

Some Thought Provoking Insights into a Victim's Reality

The scary thing about successful institutional grooming is that it substantially increases the harm done to the victims, not only because the abuse they face continues for longer, but because they lose their trust and faith in the world around them, in their family and friends, in the professional people who are meant to protect them, and most tragically, in themselves.

(Image: Andy Newson /

(Image: Andy Newson /

The things that are said and done to hurt and manipulate a victim only occur behind closed doors, and it can be very hard to remember exactly what was said or done, where, in which order and at what time, when your world feels like it is caving in. An abuser will jump on this uncertainty to highlight a victim's supposed insanity or make them seem dishonest, and to shift the focus away from his/her own appalling behavior.

Once a victim's memories of the abuse, the words said, things done and feelings felt during that abuse, have been twisted and distorted to deny, justify or excuse that abuse, one can understand why the victim begins to feel unsure about what really happened. Combine this with the common symptoms of complete and partial memory blocking and/or memory substitution in victims suffering from even mild cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and one can see how it can all combine to compound a victim’s confusion and distress, and deter them from objecting or trying to report it the next time it happens. One can also see how these factors can pervert the course of Justice.

Grooming by Perpetrators of Family Violence

In the context of family violence, institutional grooming is done to discredit the non- perpetrating parent (who is often also a victim), and the effects of successful institutional grooming in these circumstances are almost always tragic.

(image by Robert Kraft /

(image by Robert Kraft /

In best case scenarios, it can ensure debilitating emotional trauma and devastating long term consequences as the perpetrator is free to continue their abuse of both the child(ren) and the abused parent. In worst case scenarios, the results can be overwhelming, and may include horrific physical abuse, soul destroying sexual abuse or even premature death of the victim(s). The death of such victim(s) may be due to suicide, manslaughter, murder-suicide or violent murder. The most prevalent and obvious consequence however, is once again perversion of the course of Justice, and the undeniable failure of the Legal System's purpose.

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Damned If They Do & Damned If They Don't

For clarification, consider this generalized example: If a mother seeks help with protecting her children in a situation where emotional and physical abuse of both herself and her children has already occurred, and/or where there has been inappropriate sexual talk and behavior in front of her children (that may or may not be sexual grooming), and the children have displayed signs that indicate possible sexual abuse (that may or may not have happened, and may or may not happen in the future), but where the perpetrator is skilled at the art of institutional grooming, that mother will often then be subjected to accusations of parental alienation and of perpetuating feelings of fear in her children. Instead of being taken seriously, she finds herself having to defend her actions and her parenting skills, and sometimes may even find herself being the one accused of abusing her children.


If she seeks legal advice, she is advised not to make an application to the Family Court because it is likely that any application will result in 50/50 shared care of the kids. Further more, she is informed that under current Family Law, if she makes any allegations of abuse that cannot be proven, she risks being found guilty of parental alienation and quite possibly faces losing her children to the perpetrator in the likely event that interim orders would award him full residency, and allow her only a couple of hours of supervised contact per fortnight, while her children are sent to live with their alleged abuser. She may also be required to pay the legal costs for both parties.

On the other hand, if she does not do anything about seeking help from the authorities, either because she has circumstantial evidence but no substantiated proof, and no other witnesses to testify on her behalf (her own testimony would be considered hearsay, and therefore discounted), or perhaps because she has been doubted and/or counter-accused before, then at some point in the future she may find herself being found guilty of neglecting her duty of care to her children, and face the prospect of losing her kids to foster care.

(image by Peter Griffin,

(image by Peter Griffin,

What Justice?

While I have no doubt that there are indeed parents out there who do not put the best interests of their children first, and who are in fact guilty of alienating their children against the other parent and perhaps even of fabricating false allegations of abuse, whether for revenge or some other reason, surely they must be the minority? Wouldn't the majority of parents want to put their kids first?

Further more, I ask this question: What about the mother who, in spite of her own abuse, subjugation and degradation, somehow finds the strength to trust her own intuition, and manages to intervene before her children become the victims of more serious physical abuse or devastating sexual abuse? Instead of being supported and respected for the strength she has shown in the face of her adversity, she is instead victimized, subdued and humiliated to an even greater extent. Where is the justice for mothers such as she? Instead she becomes a victim of the system, and so do her children. What happened to breaking the Cycle of Abuse?

A Society-Sized Cycle?

(Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz /

(Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz /

Has anybody even stopped to think that perhaps the term "cycle of abuse" now describes a far greater cycle of perpetual dysfunction than simply the personal relationships between perpetrators and their victims, a cycle that in fact occurs and continues on a much larger scale - one that encompasses modern society as a whole? I mean, who is more likely to be a liar? A victim or their perpetrator?

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule, but in most cases, what would a victim get out of being a liar? Any parent who has suffered as a victim of family violence, then chosen to speak out against their family's abuser, and then been consistent in their commitment to the ongoing and endless process of attending appointments with social workers, lawyers, medical professionals, psychologists, counselors, art therapy and group therapy sessions (for both themselves and their children), would agree that the financial costs, physical energy requirements, mental strain and emotional drain of post traumatic abuse times could simply not be worth it.


Proactive parents who choose to engage in such an involved process, due to their genuine desire to heal their family's wounds, to protect their children from further harm, and to ensure a positive, healthy change in their life circumstances, will have often maintained such efforts for months before the matter is brought before the court, and they will have to maintain their efforts for many months or even years after the court makes final orders, even if orders are reasonably suitable.

In stark contrast, perpetrators who engage in such therapy will almost always only do so after being questioned about allegations of abuse, or in the weeks and days leading up to a court hearing. They only do so to preserve their false reputations, and their energetic last minute efforts will seldom last more than a few weeks past the need to be seen as the "poor victim" of a "vengeful" or "jealous" partner, rather than be exposed as the selfish, unrepentant perpetrators of abuse that they are.

Morality & Proactive Logic vs Passive Ignorance

I think that the Family Law Courts and some government departments are missing the whole point of what is in the best interests of the child. I am not saying that a perpetrator should be guilty until proven innocent, or punished without sufficient proof, but what is wrong with protecting our kids BEFORE they become victims? Why should the only evidence taken seriously enough to warrant supervised contact be substantiated proof of past abuse? Surely prevention is better than a cure?

(Image: renjith krishnan /

(Image: renjith krishnan /

They cannot say that the cost of supervised contact would be too great if they compare it to the long term costs of abuse to our society, considering how many victims of child abuse go on to have lifelong psychological problems, alcohol and other substance abuse issues, often grow up to become abusers themselves, or in some cases resort to suicide.

Considerations of a Responsible Government

The purpose of Family Law should be the protection of our children, who are not yet capable of making their own choices, rather than any irrationally perceived justice for those adults who have chosen not to take responsibility for the destructive effects of their abusive behavior, or the unjust persecution of those adults who are trying to shoulder responsibility for both their own and the abusive parents actions, by trying to fight a losing battle that must be fought if they are to honor the duty of care they have to their children.

It is essential that any reforms implemented as a result of the review of the 2006 Family Law Amendments (and any future changes) ensure there are no violations of the first and foremost Rights of our Children - their right to be protected from harm, and to live with out fear, in the warm, safe embrace of unconditional love.

(Image: renjith krishnan /

(Image: renjith krishnan /

Surely the Government can see the necessity of making well informed decisions regarding the specifics of any changes. Hopefully those responsible for making these decisions will question the effectiveness of a Justice System that only takes into account substantiated proof (scientific fact?) when making judgments that are guided by Laws which have been based on inductively reasoned generalizations drawn from the observation of limited numbers of specific instances (philosophical opinion?). Even the existence of the many heated debates over Australian Shared Parenting Laws highlights the fact that those generalizations were a misrepresentation of the prevailing truth.

The Laws that govern the Australian Family Court System need to be decided by using deductive reasoning to draw valid, logical conclusions from the overwhelmingly substantial amount of relevant empirical evidence available, and most people would agree that those facts can be easily found in the historically prevalent and devastating long term effects observed in children who have witnessed and/or experienced any kind of abuse.

(Image: Salvatore Vuono /

(Image: Salvatore Vuono /

The proven reliability of empirical knowledge obtained by making specific, logical and valid deductions based on vast numbers of instances that demonstrate very clear and consistent long term trends is surely what is required to ensure that the changes made to Family Laws are effective. It is essential that once amended, Family Laws consistently achieve their purpose of effectively guiding judgments in those cases where in there is a need to protect children from a risk of probable future abuse but where most often there is no proof other than circumstantial evidence, victim testimony and professional opinion based on hearsay. It is the only viable path to follow if we are to build a Family Law System in which Justice will actually serve in the best interests of the child.

A Utopian Vision

Once all that is achieved, time will confirm the truth and future generations will prosper from the positive, healthy, and wide spread evolution of our society. Their enlightenment will ensure that the wondrous gift of human morality will finally manifest in every aspect of society, propelling mankind into the peaceful bliss of a Golden Age filled with warmth, love and Light!


Some statistics on Abuse

A survey of 130 abused parents found that 76% of the 148 children
ordered by the courts to have contact with their estranged parent were
said to have been abused during visits: 10% were sexually abused; 15%
were physically assaulted; 26% were abducted or involved in an abduction
attempt: 36% were neglected during contact, ...and 62% suffered emotional
harm. Most of these children were under the age of 5 (Radford, Sayer &
AMICA, 1999.)

Further more: 70% of children living in UK refuges have been abused by their father.
(Bowker et al., 1998)

79% of women leave their violent partner because the abuse is affecting their children or they fear for their children's lives. - Humphreys and Thiara (2002)

‎"Relationship to perpetrator: Around two-thirds (66%) of men physically assaulted during the last 12 months said that the perpetrator was a stranger. In contrast, women were less likely to be physically assaulted by a stranger (22%) than by
someone they knew (82%). Almost a third (31%) of women physically
assaulted said that the perpetrator was a current or previous partner,
and 37% reported their attacker as being a family member or friend (see Australian Social Trends 2007, Women's experience of partner violence).
Women were also most likely to be sexually assaulted by someone known
to them (89%), with 29% of those sexually assaulted reporting that the
perpetrator was a current or previous partner, and 39% a family member
or friend."

A study of 200 women’s experiences of domestic violence commissioned
by Women’s Aid, found that 60% of the women had left because they
feared that they or their children would be killed by the perpetrator.
(Humphreys & Thiara, 2002).

In the same study, 76% of separated women suffered post-separation
violence. Of these women:
- 76% were subjected to continued verbal and emotional abuse;
- 41% were subjected to serious threats towards themselves or their
- 23% were subjected to physical violence;
- 6% were subjected to sexual violence;
- 36% stated that this violence was ongoing.
In addition to this, more than half of those with post-separation child
contact arrangements with an abusive ex-partner continued to have
serious, ongoing problems with this contact (Humphreys and Thiara,

MYTH: Children are not being placed at risk by court ordered contact
FACT: A recent report stated that there are 'serious concerns that contact is
being inappropriately ordered in cases where there are established
risks' (Hunt and Roberts Child contact with non-resident parents 2004 )

42% of all female homicide victims, compared with 4% of male homicide
victims, were killed by current or former partners in England and Wales in the year 2000/01. This equates to 102 women, an average of 2 women each week (Home Office, 2001...).

Between 50% and 60% of women mental health service users have experienced domestic violence, and up to 20% will be experiencing current abuse. (Department of Health, 2003; Bowstead, Janet, 2000; ReSisters, 2002).

From April 2000 to June 2001 there were 30,314 offences under the
Protection from Harassment Act 1997 in London alone (Metropolitan
Police Service). A study carried out by the Home Office found that more
than a third (41%) of cases brought to ...the courts under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the suspect had previously had an intimate
relationship with the complainant. 33% of the suspects were ex-partners, 4% were relatives, 1% a current partner and 4% were friends. In situations where the suspect previously or currently had an intimate relationship with the victim, 94% of the suspects were men (Home Office Research Study 203, 2000).


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Please Note:

All names in this article have been changed for legal purposes and to protect the privacy of the Author. Except where otherwise credited, or where text forms part of an external link, this article is under the following copyright:

All persons, places and objects shown in the images in this hub are are shown for illustrative purposes only. They bear no relation to any real person or event. All persons shown are paid models. Unless otherwise credited, all images are under the following copyright:

Copyright © 2010 Mel Stewart, "safe-at-last" and Licensors Nodtronics Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.


MaleParent on October 29, 2014:

My ex-partner is an extremely adept manipulator with a high level social intellect. Her false allegations have galvanized professional and personal opinion, and have resulted in repercussions which have been abusive to both our children and me. She is skilled at playing the victim, and was subjected to horrific abuse throughout her childhood. We are currently involved in court proceedings to decide where our 12 y/o daughter will live. She is represented by both a solicitor and a barrister. I know I will destroy my own credibility by talking about sociopathic indicators. The local authority, who are self-regulating, and in light of the very limited powers of the Local Government Ombudsman, are also above being held accountable, have had a destructive affect on my relationship with my children. The representatives from the local authority have acted out of self-interest and a desire to avoid being held accountable for unprofessional and abusive behavior. Our children are as loyal to my ex-partner as they are intimidated by, and afraid of her. She is attractive and very aware of her sexuality, and the potential for using it as a tool for manipulation. I was prevented from seeing my daughter for six months because of the malicious lies told by my ex-partner, and the support offered her by the local authority. She feigned being pushed down the stairs in order to both manufacture evidence of physical violence, and polarise the opinions of our children. I have been the victim of violence perpetrated by my ex-partner on several occasions. I have never used violence towards her. The only evidence of violence is injuries I suffered after being attacked by her, which were recorded in a police log.

I am a Father. The last two years of my life have been devastating for me. The lies told by my abusive ex-partner resulted in the loss of: my family, my home, my possessions, and my good name. Without the support of invaluable friends and family who have gone above and beyond that which one might expect, My ex-partner would have succeeded in severely limiting my role as a father.

Whereas the spirit of family law is good, there are systemic problems with social care, and in government legislation regarding family matters, and in particular the criteria for funding. The system is wide open to abuse by the people you describe in your article.

But please understand, the abusers are not all men.

I am confident that the truth will be established eventually in my family's case, and that my daughter will soon be living with a parent who puts her needs above their own.

catherine on March 03, 2012:

My PTSD showed up in hair anaylysis with naturopath in Dublin. I hope this helps.

I have experienced it all as described.

Portia on November 15, 2011:

Brilliant article which I have shared on FB, etc and sent to various professionals whom I know have been groomed and ended up aiding and abetting the criminals.

This might also explain why 75% of these groomers are getting full custody and the protective parent being written out of the children's lives?

I have witnessed one of these groomers convince a judge that 2 psychiatric reports- favourable to the victim- were fakes.?????

The abuser was never even asked by the court to have an assessment, only the victim.

He now sits in pubs laughing at all the professionals.

He has his victim's home and she is homeless.

He has the children, who are dying a slow death and professionals ignore.

He has moved onto his next victim- she is the free babysitter of course.

He has been sexually grooming daughter for years.

The children are not allowed to see their protector until 18.

Still, social workers believe he is wonderful.

The professonals do not want to believe that they fell for the same grooming tactics as the victims.

jamterrell on September 30, 2011:

Great hub.Thanks

Wow on September 16, 2011:

Great article, and so true - i followed the link from

ruth on September 15, 2011:

These observations are very valuable, very succinct and your case is cogently argued. We need to continue challenging those professionals who form part of the circle of groomed abusers, and the politicians who support them.

momof2cutekids on May 07, 2011:

I want the author to know that this is the first article that I have read that addresses the issue of abuse from the grooming angle -- thank you -- brilliant work.

I was abused by both parents emotionally: my father overtly, my mother covertly. When I finally understood that my mother had invalidated, isolated and manipulated me I was in my 20s. She used social isolation, gossip, rumors and lies to destroy my reputation on her side of the family and attempted to do the same with my husband's family. She did this in an effort to control me. She had no more regard for my well-being than does the most vicious perpetrator of physical abuse. In fact, she killed me socially. She also recruited the counselor that I hired to help me work through the damage from my childhood -- I ended up having to heal my own emotional wounds. At many points I was on the verge of suicide.

I was incredibly fortunate to marry a man who has a very high EQ and could see my mother for what she really is-- she had cultivated an image of practical "sainthood" with almost everyone around me growing up. I won't elaborate on specifics of the abuse because there are just too many stories and details: suffice to say that until I read your article this piece of the puzzle had eluded me. I could never fully understand why and how she was able to create such fiction about who I was -- my actions/accomplishments were always exemplary but somehow she always seemed to cast me in a dark light. For anyone reading this who is trying to climb out of a hole of social isolation created by an abuser -- there is HOPE. Although my path may not be correct for every circumstance, I will offer my solution: (1) Create boundaries even if that means moving away and limiting or eliminating contact with the perpetrator (this will give you the space you need to heal and to "become" your true self; (2) Remain respectful in any interactions that you do have and seek the support of an unbiased (unrecruited) support person ( I had my husband and later, his family); (3)Forgive - this does not mean to forget, in fact you must remember what they are capable of doing. For a long time I would repeated the pattern, I would get upset at the abuse, they would apologize, I would "forgive" and they would repeat. I never really forgave them in a meaningful way so it always came back and killed me over and over again. It was not until I released my anger (which had given me comfort because it made me feel righteous) that I was able to become who I was always mint to be.

I now see my mother and father clearly. They are awful, damaged people who have spent their lives defending their behavior -- my mother, successfully. They are not capable of feeling the love I feel for others -- I used to hate that my mother had tricked so many people. I now know they were her co-conspirators and on some level, just as damaged as she is. I no longer need to know them. Instead, I fill my life with love and seek to assist those that cannot defend themselves. Once in a while, I pull the mask off a perpetrator ---


Momof2 on March 17, 2011:

I know what you have written to be True, I too am a Child and Adult Survivor, now Overcomer...

BPHJ from UT on January 16, 2011:

I was a victim as a child. The perpetrator? My stepfather. He had EVERYONE groomed! My religious leader, school, even my own MOTHER did not want to hear ONE BAD WORD against the GRACIOUS man that took her in with 3 kids! They projected that it was my biological father putting ideas in my head so he could fight for custody. WOW!! Talk about nowhere to turn! Even the thought of him still makes me want to puke! When I finally got out of the situation he moved on to my 3 yr old sister! I didn't know about it until she was a teen... The story is long and ugly... and while I may get a little of normalcy in my life now, my sister is MESSED UP... Thanks for such a great HUB! So well written!!

Greg_L-W. on December 09, 2010:

From: Greg Lance-Watkins

eMail: Greg_L-W (

Tel: UK: 01291 – 62 65 62


I have no personal ‘axe’ to grind other than a lifetime belief, as an activist, in justice.

May I suggest you read the documents, reports, letters and facts surrounding Anne Greig’s ‘STORIES’ regarding her daughter and the criminally irresponsible behaviour of Robert Green her publicist.

I have studied the material in some detail and PERSONALLY have come to the conclusion that not only are the ‘STORIES’ unsound but it is clear there is no admissible, valid or substantive evidence that Hollie Greig was EVE sexually abused.

I have laid out the documents and the details of how I have arrived at my opinion in some detail at:

To date no compelling evidence of sexual abuse has ever been led to date and as the police reports state there just isn’t sufficient evidence.

It is interesting that not one of the alleged perpetrators would seem to have any suspicious background or other allegations yet seemingly a number HAVE ‘crossed’ Anne Greig at some time!

The only defence that has been made to my voicing my genuine and reasoned views has been a tirade of ad hominem attacks and extrapolation of unsound research to act as a character assassination – you may have sufficient experience to appreciate this technique.

Obviously who or what I am does not alter the documentation, the reports, the official letters or the facts – were I Ted Bundy, jesus Christ or sequentially sodomising the Mormon Tabarnacle Choir that would NOT alter the facts!!

These ‘STORIES’ are no more nor no less fanciful regardless of who points out the facts.

I started exposing paedophelia in the 1960s, campaigned for decriminalisation of homosexuality 50 years ago, was material in exposing the paedophile aspects of Thomas Hamilton & Dunblane, was instrumental of the resignation of Ron Davis Secretary of State for Wales for his perversions, have been instrumental or participant in bringing other cases to Court, exposed a politician for theft & money laundering leading to his 2 year prison sentence etc. etc.

May I remind you that guilt is frequently best shown by those who seek to shoot the messenger and the hysteriacal attempts of the likes of Matt Quinn, David Icke, Robert Green, George McKendrick, Belinda McKenzie to lie and distort their stories about me has shown beyond doubt they have no evidence nor ability to provide evidence to back the ‘STORIES’ surrounding Hollie Greig who I am reliably informed regardless of such attributes that she may have in aspects of communication and determination to please has the natural attributes of a small child.

It is interesting that a main plank of the fancifull ‘STORIES’ is that as a Downs Syndrome child Hollie can not lie – perhaps then someone can explain how she lied to her Mother for supposedly 14 years!

My contention is quite clear – there is every evidence of exploitation of these two vulnerable women for gain or revenge by those that abuse Hollie by parading her around studios and meetings like an exibit in a Victorian freak show – surely the days of the exploitation of mental illness and deformity are behind us – but to listen to the gutter broadcasters and their glee in repetition of these ‘STORIES’ without any due dilligence or clarity of proof it would seem not.

Many a sick mind can be seen gathered to berate anyone who dares to seek the truth with the timerity to require FACTS, and valid admissible evidence that can be in some way corroborated or substantiated.

Ask yourself why the clamouring to promote this case comes from the gutter and seeks to defame the very authorities that fund many of them! There seem to be some very sick people trying to settle old scores!

Frankly I couldn’t give a damn what these foolish people say about me I am indebted to no one, beholden to no one and indifferent to the opinions of crack pots save those who seek to exploit me for their own gain.

It is interesting that NOT ONE of the nut jobs supporting these fantasies is willing to engage in debate of the facts as clearly they know they can not uphold their fantasies when exposed to open debate and facts – I have offered open debate in public or point by point debate of the facts and their only defence of the scam is to launch ad hominem attacks.

Once again may I ask you to act with due dilligence and some professionalism and study the facts – if you bring to the issue any journalistic, deductive ability I can not see how you are able to come to any opinion largely at varience with that I have put forward – but I would be happy to discuss your viewpoint, if that would help arrive at Justice for the defamed.


Greg L-W.

corneilius on December 09, 2010:

None of what I have written is to be taken as to give 'excuses' for ANY abuser or abusive behaviour.....

corneilius on December 09, 2010:

I am a survivor. I have spent 30 years studying the dynamics of abuse, from within the family through to Governance.

One this is absolutely clear - that Power Relationships are at the roots of the problem of abuse, and that Power Relationships are not innate, they are not what the newborn baby is expecting to meet, and that they are learned.... or taught by Society....

Think on this : the article focus's on how abusers use Instituions, by grooming them.... and this is VERY important information to explore...

And what it does not mention is that perhaps Abusers RUN those Institutions, and work within them and that is WHY the Institutions are so easily groomed...... that is WHY justice is rarer than punishment.

For example a Government may RULE in ways that harm substantial sectors of their own population. The Media will protect the Government, by grooming the facts to suit their perspective.... we all know this to be the case....

We all know that the amongst most successful in business and politics and banking are many, many Sociopaths; Tony Blair, Dick Cheny, Charlie Haughy, Maggie Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch - all people whose actions have harmed many people.....

They are the kinds of people who built those Institutions in the first place, all of which emerged out of the Power Relationship Society.

The treatment of Irish Survivors by the Irish Government is abusive, as is the treatment of Native Americans, Native Canadians, Native Australians by their respective Governments.

The fact is that ALL abuse takes place in a context, and that context is Power Relationships which in and of itself is the current paradigm of Western Civilisation, and indeed is what is bringing so much harm to peoples lives, be it by environmental degradation, processed foods, marketing aimed at children's developing psyches to groom them for consumerism, War.

We will not end abuse in the home until we also end it in our Societal structures - and the key is understanding Power Relationships and knowing how to thwart them and expose them for what they are....

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on June 01, 2010:

Hi Sarah

I totally agree!

I'm actually having lunch soon with a psychologist I have met through a friend, who specializes in brain imaging. I outlined some things I want to discuss with him in an email and he got quite excited about it. The court goes on about a need for proof, so I want to look at how reliable brain imaging is for diagnosing PTSD & Complex PTSD, and also whether it would be reliable in diagnosing sociopathy or psychopathy....

Emotional trauma scars the brain (psychiatric injury) but I don't know whether brain imaging can be used to detect this or not. Even so, it might be possible to use it to prove that a victim is not schizophrenic or bi-polar when an abuser says "she's lying and besides, she's crazy..." or to prove that any anxiety or depression she is suffering from is situational/reactive as opposed to internal (chemical)).

Anyway, I'm looking forward to chatting with this guy. He has a lot of involvement with university research etc... and if I can convince him that there is enough evidence that could be used as a basis from which to develop a strong hypothesis, he may even be able to organize some studies.

I wonder why the court doesn't consider some of the other physiological evidence that proves on-going stress? For instance, when somebody has a major episode of stress in there life, it will often cause fingernails to form a horizontal ridge (due to growth slowing or stopping?). As the nail grows, the ridge moves towards the tip of the finger, so it does go away with time, but if there is ongoing trauma, a person can have many ridges across their nails.

After you-know-who left, my mum treated me to a manicure and the nail technician could not believe the ridges in my nails. She was even able to tell me the approximate dates that each stress occurred, and the length of time it persisted for, and my mum and I could not believe how accurate she was. She could tell if the period of stress lasted a few days, a week or two, or over a month!

Whether the government would go for it or not is a a different story. After all, it's more about economics for them than anything else, and the shared parenting laws have substantially reduced the costs associated with running the child support agency because, with shared care, neither parent pays CS, so there is less need to chase all the non-paying parents for money whilst paying extra in family benefits to the sole parent....

Thanks for your feedback, and I'm stoked you came on hubpages to have a look. I hope you like some of my writing. The one about paranoid ponderings is quite funny, but I guess the rest is all pretty heavy...

sarah (aari's mum) on June 01, 2010:

Hi there, thanks for putting me onto this. I finished a family law unit at murdoch yesterday and from what I've learnt the amendments have put the victims of abuse in a very dangerous situation. The amendments were supposed to put the bests interests of the child before anything else and there is a presumption that having a close relationship with both parents is central to the child's best interests.

Yet, as you've pointed out, the victims - children or other - are encouraged by the legislation to silence any concerns about abuse at the risk of being labelled an 'unfriendly parent' and losing access (all or substantial) and, in doing so, protection of their children. Abuse is extremely difficult to prove. If it's psychological it's almost impossible. If it's physical, usually the injuries are in the past and evidence has disappeared. Most victims are not in a position to document and prepare evidence of abuse for the court because they are in survival mode and their priority is to keep themselves and their children safe.

The system needs to allow for allegations to be brought forward and investigated properly by all parties without there being penalties for doing so. Even if this costs money and time it is better than repressing and silencing the abuse.

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 31, 2010:

Thank you all for your great comments and feedback. MM, SL & OWS, I wrote this for people like you and me, to help others understand something that WE don't even understand half the time. There have been times when my ex has said something about me in court and I have just been so unable to comprehend how someone can lie so blatantly for the sole purpose of their "reputation", knowing full well that lie will cause their children endless pain, that I would not even be able to say anything in my own defense. I would just sit their looking like a fool with my mouth open. And then the prick would say something like "you never thought I would tell them about that, did you?" It's absurd, and the fact that the departments and the courts allow it to happen is just ridiculous...

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 31, 2010:

Thank you PI for the feedback and encouragement. At the moment I'm feeling like this is about all I can do to help my own children....

Even teaching them how to stay safe can be construed as parental alienation by a manipulative parent with an ignorant lawyer (as my own lawyer just warned me!).

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on May 27, 2010:

Thumbs and several categoriy ratings. Keep talking about his and more people will listen.

OneWhiteSquare from America on May 26, 2010:


Thank you for explaining what I thought couldn't...My own mother was a groomer and a very good one. My brothers and sister were all groomed a bit differently by her...she did it in stages and to whatever degree each of us was willing to give up to keep the abuse at bay.

I no longer talk with my mom nor does she have any contact with my children. My wife always tells me how amazed she is that I broke this cycle of violence because of its pattern of passing from parent to child. One of my brothers opted to not have children because of this.

Thanks for this Hub! It has givin me a good definition of my life as a child.


safety steph on May 26, 2010:

WOW This is the best especially since safety is my business and my passion. I will definitely pass on this valuable information Thanks

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 25, 2010:

This is a very interesting and well written hub about a tough topic. I was not familiar with the term grooming so it took me a bit to understand. Good hub.

Sugar Lea on May 25, 2010:

I feel like this article was written for me.

Alicia on May 25, 2010:

These systems and adminitrators need a major overhaul if families are to survive, and children and women are to be protected from abuse!

Muriel Matters on May 22, 2010:

This story is my story. I am the mother described in this article. I'm being dragged through the processes and now heavily scrutinised because of the actions and things that he has done. Behind closed doors he is constantly an irritable, intolerant, selfish, self-centred, angry, impatient, inconsistent, lazy, arrogant and grandiose individual who is a pathological liar. However, others who have met him outside and especially when seen with his daughter comment to me, "Oh he does so love his daddy/daughter time." "Oh, it's so wonderful to watch them together" (the latter from her school librarian). He's been visiting psychologists, psychiatrists, therapist, counsellors, social workers since his teens and he's worked the system out to a tee. I've had a relationship counsellor say to me, after witnessing his yelling the word "SHIT" at me in counselling, and apparently believing his denials, minimisations and justifications, tell me after he'd left that she saw "a wonderful man who was trying his best to be the best father he could possibly be". Errr, yeah right, he accomplishes that by screaming so loudly at his daughter that she curls up in a foetal position on the floor...... But when I report this, he says I'm exaggerating, and he's believed, and I'm not. I'm not exaggerating at all, if anything I'm minimising. He also has a knack of fully describing himself and then attributing the whole lot outside of himself, usually on to me. Any form of denials on my behalf result in me being labelled as defensive, and looked at with suspicion. When he does it, he's given credibility. It's unreal. And he also lives in his own reality that he makes up as he goes along. He changes his personal history to suit the moment. He realigns his own history, thus he lives in a present false reality. It's quite amazing to watch (when you've worked it out), prior to that it's just insane making.

All this leaves me gobsmacked. He has everybody fooled, literally everybody, except for a few members of his family, and of course, me, and his ex (I'd love to find her, as she'd be able to substantiate how arrogant and self-centred to the point of pathology he really is). And since the sexual grooming of our daughter has started, my parents now really see him for what he is.

The only way I can see for those in authority who count to understand and attempt to see what is occurring with these sociopathic abusers, those who should be protecting our children as I am trying to do, is to have a multitude of protective mothers who also deal with these types of covert chronic abusers speak up. As a lone voice, I'm lost. The overall focus of the family law reform centres on overt violence, and while that is incredibly important, so is the deviant behaviour of sexual grooming, blaming and shaming our children, and using them as pawns to elicit the emotional and physical needs of their sociopathic parent.

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 22, 2010:

Thank you everybody for your great feedback and praise, and for sharing your own experiences.

I have to say that I am humbled, flattered, proud and amazed by just how much energy my article is generating.

All I can say is - Well, I wanted to kick up a fuss, and kick up a fuss I have!

Hell Yeah Give me a wooooo wooooo people!

Speak up for our kids, they cannot speak for themselves!

Nellieanna Hay from TEXAS on May 22, 2010:

I'd never heard the term "grooming" used this way. I was expecting it to be about grooming the hair or nails. This is too horrid to imagine. As you say - to condition a victim not to object or to comply and all that - and then to condition all who might help her/him in the event that help is sought -- - well - it's horrible.

In my personal experience - looking back at a terribly abusive (largely emotionally) husband, I realize that he was continuously planting seeds of conditoning to everyone else around us, though his threats alone had subdued me not to seek help from anyone.

I'm stunned to realize that it's become such a "big business" almost, reaching into the professions whose entire job is to HELP victims - but instead they're conditioned to help keep them subdued and at the mercy of merciless abusers.

WEll - I came here to see what all the praise for this hub is about - and now I DO see it and agree! You have my vote, safe-at-last!!

My little hub which is up for Hubnugget in the HubPages category is so tame by comparison!

raisingme from Fraser Valley, British Columbia on May 21, 2010:

I have seen what you speak about at work. My son belonged to a youth organization where an adult caused him extreme heartache. It took me two years of concentrated effort to have this party removed from the organization because his deception permeated so many levels both inside and out of the group. In my working my way through this I found that this party had adversely affected the lives of 40 other children before turning his sights on my son. My motto through the whole ordeal was "He messed with the wrong kid this time." Other parents told me that I would never be able to work myself high enough up the "chain of command" to get this handled. Many had tried and failed. I did not! It also took me three years to get my son back to being himself and getting his life, dreams and goals back on track! Thank you for bringing attention to this with your well written hub.

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 21, 2010:

P.S. Humbled that my hub has been nominated for Hubnuggets!

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 21, 2010:

Hi rm. That is what I was hoping to do - make people think...

Thanks for the feedback.

Michelle Simtoco from Cebu, Philippines on May 21, 2010:

This hub left me pondering and made me think. I guess that is why the Hubnuggets Team nominated it for the Hubnuggets! New to this? please visit this hub and check it out:

Mel Stewart (author) from Western Australia on May 21, 2010:

Wow, I'm humbled, thank you!

Barry Rutherford from Queensland Australia on May 21, 2010:

The layout and images are great. I will be happy to nominate your hub as the best on these lists !

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