The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that a Fairfax County man can stop paying spousal support to his ex-wife because she lives with another woman, reversing lower courts that found the state’s cohabitation standard does not apply to same-sex … Read more
The Men of Online Dating are a fascinating bunch. They’re not all bad, but it helps to know what you’re dealing with. My only experience with dating sites has been as a private investigator. So, obviously, I’m probably jaded. But, … Read more
In this job, we rarely get “happily ever after”. It is part of why so many investigators (even good ones) leave the field in their first year. From one case to the next we may get wins and successes, but … Read more
Child custody is associated with the terms “fight,” “battle,” and “dispute” more than any others. These are the ugliest connotations we know, used to describe how we handle parenting after separation. So, it’s no surprise that judges, lawyers, and advocates … Read more
The lives that investigators lead are often juxtaposed to the idea of what our lives are like. In reality, we’re pretty normal with the typical smattering of jerks, whiners, dopes, geniuses, altruists, philanthropists, and shady types that you would see … Read more
This series of articles is designed to bring into focus the aftermath of US Vs. Jones and the rush to regulate Electronic Tracking of the American Citizen as well as Personal Property. The ultimate failure of Virginia’s HB 1981, and the unfortunate shortsightedness that will likely be followed by other States.
Child abuse occurs all too often and can occur in a wide variety of forms. Although each state describes the act of child abuse and neglect differently almost all states recognize four common types of abuse and neglect on children such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse, child neglect and physical abuse. Sadly, when children are abused by their parents or caretakers you tend to find a combination of these types of abuse occurring within the home. Most Jurisdictions in Virginia consider parental substance abuse and abandonment as a form of child abuse as well.
Physical abuse is when a child is physically harmed in a non-accidental manner which can range from severe injuries to minor bruises and injuries. These injuries are typically caused from physical violence from a parent or caregiver due to hitting, punching, throwing, kicking, biting, hitting with an object, burning, beating or shaking a child whom the caregiver holds primary responsibility for. Even if the parent or caregiver did not mean to hurt the child by their actions, if bodily injury occurrs then it is considered to be physical abuse. Spanking a child is not considered to be physical abuse as long as it is within reasonable limitations and does not cause bodily harm to the child.
Child neglect is another common form of abuse and occurs when the caregiver or parent does not do what is required in order to meet the basic needs of the child. Child neglect can take on many forms such as failing to provide adequate food or shelter, lack of supervision, failure to provide necessary medical care or treatment, failure to provide the needed special education for a child with special needs, failure to properly educate a child by not sending them to school or due to consistent truancy, failure to attend to the emotional needs of the child and allowing the child to perform inappropriate activities such as consuming alcohol or drugs. Although in some cases the religious beliefs, cultural values and poverty may be considered when determining if these actions are considered to be child neglect.
Sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that is especially heinous and occurs when a parent or caregiver performs inappropriate sexual actions with a child in their care. Penetration, fondling of a child, incest, indecent exposure, rape, exploitation and sodemy are all forms of sexual abuse in a child. Any form of incest, sexual exploitation, prostitution or molestation by a parent relative or caregiver is considered to be a form of child sexual abuse and is a prosecutable offense in all states!
The last type of child abuse that we will discuss is emotional abuse and occurs when a pattern of consistent behavior causes harm to the emotional development of the child. This can be a variety of things such as constant yelling, criticism, rejection and threats or withholding love, guidance and support as a form of punishment. This type of child abuse is often hard to prove and makes it extremely hard for child protection services to remove the child from the situation unless the abuse is able to be proven to cause mental harm, injury or long term emotional damage to the child.
For decades, fictional characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Magnum P.I. have glorified the private investigator turning them into a hot commodity. Although private investigators can be tasked with some exciting cases, their main responsibility is to uncover the facts and bring justice to their clients.
“Media portrayal of private investigators is far more exotic than the actual day-to-day dynamics,” says Roger Humber, director of the Criminal Justice department at South University, Montgomery. “The typical day will depend on the case or service that the PI has contracted to perform.”
Instead of being inspired by fictional private investigators, John Morse, owner of Morse Investigation Services, decided to open his own firm after hiring an investigation professional to do work for him more than 10 years ago.
“I found the experience horrible,” Morse says. “I knew a lot of the tricks of the industry and knew I could do a better job.”
Morse had to put in a lot of hard work in order to get his firm started.
In Virginia, where his firm is located, he says candidates for private investigator jobs are required to meet certain guidelines and minimum training requirements.
He had prior experience running a business and managing people, which he says helped him to avoid some of the common pitfalls of starting a new business.
When hiring private investigators to add to his staff, Morse says he has found that no matter what is taught in a classroom or read in a book, there is no replacement for actual experience.
“Sometimes life experience in general is more than enough,” Morse says.
Media portrayal of private investigators is far more exotic than the actual day-to-day dynamics.
When a firm is staffed with good, hard-working, knowledgeable investigators, Morse says providing good customer service is probably the single most important aspect of managing a private investigation firm.
“You must manage your clients’ budget, expectations, and ensure that your client is kept up to date,” Morse says. “Managing a large caseload and multiple investigators is an arduous task. We utilize cloud base case management that allows our investigators to update a case in real time. This has proved to be a wise investment and has saved countless man hours.”
LIFE AS A PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR
As a private investigator, Morse says his work hours can often be long and unpredictable.
“If an investigator is not careful you will end up working nearly 24 hours a day,” he says. “There are cases that can only be worked at times when the only people that should be awake are the law and the outlaw. People under investigation typically mess up when it is least convenient for you as an investigator to respond. That is why it is so important to be able and ready to drop what you are doing and go after your subject without notice.”
Morse says his firm primarily focuses on family law cases.
“However we have had great success with cold case murders, criminal defense cases, and personal injury cases,” he says.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR JOBS
Gabriele Suboch, an adjunct Criminal Justice instructor at South University, Online, says private investigator jobs span a wide variety of specialties, ranging from divorce to fraud. And that they mainly focus on civil issues, as the police are typically responsible for criminal cases.
“The PI is not allowed to make an arrest,” Suboch says.
Suboch says private investigators are commonly retired law enforcement officers, mostly detectives.
She says a private investigator must have good interview, computer, photography and interpersonal skills, in addition to a firm understanding of laws regarding what you can do and where you can go without a search warrant.
“A weapons permit is also strongly recommended,” Suboch says.
She also notes the importance of private investigators being knowledgeable in their line of work, so they can recognize everything they will need to do for an investigation to be a success.
Humber says the private investigation profession is not as strictly regulated as publicly funded criminal justice entities.
“There are no universal minimum standard criteria for someone interested in pursuing this career field,” Humber says. “For example, in Alabama there is currently no statewide regulation or requirement for someone wishing to become a PI.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) most states do require a private investigator to have a license, but specific laws vary according to each state.
Most states also require private investigators carrying a handgun to meet additional requirements, according to the BLS.
A private investigator specializing in negligence or criminal defense investigation can obtain the Certified Legal Investigator certification, offered by the National Association of Legal Investigators to demonstrate expertise in the field, says the BLS. Investigation professionals with a security specialization can also get a Professional Certified Investigator certification from ASIS International.
According to the BLS, private investigator jobs are expected to experience a 21% increase between 2010 and 2020. This is due to increasing security concerns and the need to keep property and confidential information secure.
Advances in technology have also led to an increasing number of cyber crimes, including identity theft, spamming, internet scams, and financial and insurance fraud, which has assisted in the demand for private investigators, says the BLS.