Inadequate Psychological Assessments in Family Courts & Poor Psychometrics
I am in care. I am not allowed to speak of being abused. I want to go home to my family but I can’t. Please help me to stop the court experts who with their allegations against my family sent me into the unknown “In a child’s best interest”.
It would seem that most children taken into care are on allegations only by the social workers and social services. This is partly true but one has to look at the wider aspect of what we children have become – we the British children are a Multibillion Pound Industry.
Although there are many social workers who are paid to write up allegations only to send a child into the unknown, let’s take a look more closely at the COURT EXPERTS who are paid thousands of pounds per case to write up assessments for the courts of children and families. Many social workers throughout this country are working hand in glove with certain one-sided court experts on the circuit which is all part of the multibillion pound industry that we children have become.
There are many court experts who are not qualified and have no rights what so ever on their hear say only to write up reports on allegations and send children to the unknown In 2013 Phil Carter investigative journalist with Channel 4 produced a documentary of the court experts – this is a very important link to watch.
When families are assessed by the court experts many are asked to fill in the MCMI-III psychometric test consisting of 175 questions originally designed to support individuals seeking therapy. It is barely adequate for those purposes but is now routinely corrupted for use in forensic settings to provide the court experts with a crutch (or wheelchair!) to ‘pathologise’ healthy individuals. Some have reported they did NOT tick one box of the 175 questions or gave random answers with the court expert nevertheless writing a report that claims to make valid inferences. Even if a person had never in their life’s taken drink and drugs innuendo may be written in the reports that they had – along with so many more allegations from the MCMI-III.
Here is a happy-clappy-wiki perspective on the tool:
And this is what critical Psychologists say:
Prof Jane Ireland (2012) found that 65% of psychological assessment reports sampled from UK Family Court settings were ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ emphasising the importance of assessments needing to meet the Daubert standard.
Rogers, Salekin & Sewell (1999, 2000) argue that the MCMI-III tool does not meet the Daubert standard of validity required for use in forensic settings.
The MCMI-III was originally developed for ‘Low Stakes’ use with individuals seeking therapy. Even in such settings the ‘disconnect’ between item content and reporting labels is troublesome with a high risk of ‘false positives’ on scales such as ‘Delusional Disorder’ and ‘Thought Disorder’. Most mental health professionals remain naïve about the depravity and cunning of extreme abusers so that genuine acts of stalking, defamation and intimidation may be erroneously dismissed.
In Family Court Settings ‘Ultra High Stakes’ decisions are made with death-penalty-like consequences such as removal of custody from parents with subsequent placement of a child into ‘Long-term Foster Care’ or ‘Forced Adoption’.
The routine use the MCMI-III in Family Court settings is very troubling. The Narcissistic scale is particularly problematic as half its items appear to actually measure ‘Emotional Stability’ – a highly desirable personality characteristic that underpins resilience and successful coping behaviours. As the MCMI-III is normed on ‘Clinical’ samples (that are on average considerably more anxious than the General Population) any ‘ordinary’ adult/parent is likely to end up with an elevated score on the Narcissistic scale which is entirely a measurement artefact.
The computer generated report uses ‘vitriolic language’ going far beyond what the set of scale items could possibly measure. Numerous parents reportedly lost custody of children due to accusations of ‘having a narcissistic personality disorder’ (see www.forced-adoption.com). To what extent did the Psychologists issuing damning ‘life changing’ reports ensure that the many criteria that the DSM stipulates were really met for such a diagnosis to be made, or simply (over-) relied on a ‘hired gun’ over-interpretation of the MCMI-III results?
The use of the MCMI-III appears to be entirely unethical wherever a victim or witness has made abuse allegations e.g. attempted to obtain a police report. The Delusional Disorder and Thought Disorder scales share many items and cannot possibly differentiate between ‘imagined’ and ‘real’ persecution. In one case a determined abuser seemingly staged a dozen stalking and defamation events in order to make a victim/witness ‘appear’ delusional. To add impact he apparently performed a ‘Bestiality’ act on a male dog as a prelude to buggering two weeks later the dog’s little human friend – to pull the wool over the eyes of hapless (or compromised?) ‘professionals’ in order to ‘game’ Family Court proceedings.
In the context of numerous irregularities mental health professionals concluded that the mother reporting the assault on the child was ‘delusional’ and ‘paranoid’. Who would dare to speak up for the witness/victim and attest to the veracity of disclosures regarding such extreme abuse events? It is so much easier (but unlawful) to deflect statutory obligations and instead pursue re-victimisation. Three dozen professionals ‘looked away’.
The Family Court system continues to unabatedly entertain the ‘Discourse of Disbelief’ proffered in spite of the evidence concerning extreme abuse by Jimmy Savile, Ian Watkins, Ian & Elaine Batley and Albert & Carole Hickmann.
Many ‘professionals’ fail to discharge their statutory duties (i.e. duty to initiate ‘organised crime’ investigative child protection proceedings) and opt for pounding the parents with accusations of being mentally ill. In one particular chilling case authority representatives engaged in vile persecutory actions such as permitting the alleged abuser interact with the alleged victim in a ‘contact’ session – seemingly in order to create ‘facts on the ground’ and ‘mould’ the mother to fit the ‘diagnosis’.
The MCMI-III seems to lack the validity evidence required for use in forensic settings – partly due to the fact that three different versions were published within less than 2 decades. The MMPI2 tool is the leading clinical personality questionnaire and suffers somewhat less from the problems of the MCMI-III and has a much stronger research pedigree with only two revisions over 70 years. Nevertheless any clinical personality questionnaire should only be used with extreme caution. Interpretation of results needs to take into account limitations of the measure as well as impact of the environment e.g. persecutory acts in the context of possible ‘gaming’ of family court proceedings to facilitate access to a target child.
It is of the greatest importance that families and upright citizens involved in care proceedings are made aware of the inadequacies of the MCMI-III and refuse to allow Psychologist and Psychiatrist to use this questionnaire.
We are asking people to contact us directly if you have any evidence with information of any potentially inadequate/illegal assessments so that we can produce and collate all evidence of the Psychologists and Psychiatrists who facilitate ‘child smuggling’ through poor assessment practice.
Maggie Tuttle on behalf of ‘Children screaming to be heard’
Ireland, J. (2012). Evaluating Expert Witness Psychological Reports: Exploring Quality. University of Central Lancashire.
Rogers, R. Salekin, R. T., & Sewell, K. W. (1999). Validation of the Millon Multiaxial Inventory for Axis II disorders: Does it meet the Daubert standard? Law and Human Behavior, 23, 425–443.
Rogers, R. Salekin, R. T., & Sewell, K. W. (2000). The MCMI-III and the Daubert Standard: Separating Rhetoric from Reality. Law and Human Behavior, 24, 501–506.