Peter Ellis Org :
The Inquisition - The Inquisitors - Professional Botchups


Prue Vincent, Wellington Psychologist

Ms Prue Vincent, once head of Social Welfare's psychologists team, and who regularly works for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services… was fined and censured for botching a sex abuse investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children

Last updated March 5, 2005

Peter Ellis Home Page

Prue Vincent - Dominion

2002-0109 - Marlborough Express - Abuse of compensation   
Editorial -
There are very real problems in accepting the advice of counsellors who are treating those claiming sexual abuse. Not unnaturally, counsellors tend to be very sympathetic to their patients, who in most cases are indeed victims. But not always so. A leading child psychologist was fined and censured last November for botching a sex abuse investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children. Prue Vincent had pleaded guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming after allowing the mother to be present at interviews with the children, using leading questions, accepting the mother's testimony "without question", not interviewing the father as a reference source.

2001-1217 - Nelson Mail - A welcome step   
Editorial -
The Medical Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal is open, allowing the public to know about doctors who have been found guilty of misconduct. Others, such as the Psychologists Board, are able to hold hearings in private and keep the identities of practitioners in trouble to themselves. This is exactly what happened in the case of a Wellington psychologist fined for botching a child abuse investigation: the board had no intention of naming her and it took a High Court judge to allow publication of Prue Vincent's name.

2001-1215 - Dominion - Public trials for medical misconduct     
by Leah Haines - Doctors, nurses and other health professionals facing misconduct charges will be tried in public and if found guilty named, Health Minister Annette King says. …"The bill aims to ensure transparency of registration and disciplinary processes, so the public can be assured (they) are fair and just and not subject to professional bias," Mrs King said. The transparency of such disciplinary hearings has been an issue for years and has been particularly highlighted by two cases in the past three weeks. Last month, The Dominion revealed that Prue Vincent, a top Wellington psychologist, had been fined for botching a six-year-long child sex-abuse investigation. The Psychologists Board disciplined her in a private hearing and allowed her to continue practising. It confirmed it had no plans to publish her name in connection with the charges she faced.

2001-1215 - One News - Tough moves on medical misconduct
There are moves to force doctors and nurses accused of medical misconduct into the public eye. They would be tried in public and named if found guilty. The planned law change aims to reassure New Zealanders that medical discipline is fair, but it has its critics. Doctors accused of making mistakes can end up in front of the medical practitioners' disciplinary tribunal, and their cases are now usually heard in public. But other health professionals are still disciplined behind closed doors. A recent example is psychologist Prue Vincent - disciplined in private and allowed to keep practising - after bungling a child sex abuse case

2001-1215 - The Herald -  Psychology Standards
page A22 by Gordon Waugh - The botched inquiry by psychologist Prue Vincent (Dec 4) into a sex abuse case is just one of many. She has destroyed an entire family, yet is merely fined lightly and censured. The Psychologists Board could de-register her but, as it has shown in the past, it lacks the courage to act. That she is still allowed to practice is scandalous. Her methods and findings are typical of the sex abuse industry. Confirm this by remembering the Peter Ellis case, the tens of thousands of ACC claimants, men wrongly denied access to families, and the man to whom we recently paid over half a million dollars in compensation for wrongful conviction.

2001-1212 - Dominion - Botched Inquiry Result Typical
page 16 by Gordon Waugh -
The botched sex abuse inquiry by psychologist Prue Vincent illustrates a typical result by self-appointed "sex abuse experts". Their claims of "expert" status, privilege and confidentiality, are untenable. No-one gave them the right, privilege or authority to decide who wears the loathsome label of "sex abuser". Their fatally flawed methods lead directly to false conclusions. In my opinion, the charges to which she pleaded guilty demonstrate monumental, but not untypical, incompetence. The Psychologists Board could de-register her but, as it has shown in the past, it lacks the courage to act, thereby condemning itself. That she is still allowed to practice is scandalous.

2001-1206 - Ind Newspapers - Disgrace Prue Vincent Can Practice
Feedback by Paul Holdsworth -
It is a disgrace to her profession that Prue Vincent can continue to practise and was not given a realistic punishment or censure from the Pyschologists Board. It would appear from the article that the board is made up of an "old boys club" and it would be interesting to know if any were affiliated or knew of Ms Vincent.

2001-1206 - Ind Newspapers - Vincent not Suited to work on Sex Abuse
Feedback by Diane Kennedy -
Ms Vincent should have been made to pay the courts costs of the father and limits of where she can work should have been put in place. It is obvious that she is not suited to work on sex abuse cases, as she does not have any idea on how to conduct cases. Do these people never learn that there are right and wrong ways to go about these enquiries?

2001-1206 - Ind Newspapers - Vincent Self Aggrandising Career Busybody
Feedback by Peter Barrett - Life in a social femocracy - we've had twenty years of this stuff. To say you've had a gutsful makes you sound like an ACT-voter from the sticks, which I'm not.
But self-aggrandising careerist busybodies like Prue Vincent drive us all spare. Preventing harm to kids? Please!

2001-1206 - Ind Newspapers - Methodology similar to that used against Ellis
Feedback by Kathleen Murdoch -
I suggest that the (flawed) methodology used by Prue Vincent to destroy the family relationship of an innocent man is similar to that used by police et al to bring charges against Peter Ellis, whose conviction is still problematic

2001-1206 - Ind Newspapers - Techniques same as at Creche
Feedback by Carolyn Lewis -
Isn't it interesting that many of the techniques that Prue Vincent used during her interviews, and has since been disciplined for, are the same as those described by Lynley Hood in her book on the Christchurch Civic Creche Case? If these techniques are now discredited, it seems to me that the Civic Creche Case needs to be revisited - yet again - with a wider term of reference which allows a look at how evidence was obtained from the children involved

2001-1206 - Dominion - Abuse issues   
Letter to the Editor by Marian Kleist - While having no wish to debate the details of the Prue Vincent case (November 4) I do feel moved to make some comments with regard to the general issues that the article gives rise to…….We are aware that when dealing with issues of abuse in children situations are far from straightforward.

2001-1206 - Dominion - Vincent may face review of position     
by Leah Haines - Family Court guidelines for psychologists, which list a book by Prue Vincent as recommended reading, could see her position with the court reviewed, the Courts Department has confirmed. Ms Vincent, named this week as having botched a sexual abuse investigation involving a father, co-wrote the Practice of Psychology and the Law -- the only recommended text listed in new guidelines for Family Court psychologists

2001-1205 - Stuff - Double standard     
by Tony Stockdale - Re: Censured psychologist allowed to keep practicing. Why should errant surgeons and pathologists be castigated, while errant psychiatrists (sic) seem immune to such censures?

2001-1205 - Stuff - Tip of the Iceberg   
by Ed Hitchcock - The Prue Vincent case is the tip of the iceberg. Many psychologists now avoid Family Court work because of the risk of complaint - often unjustified. Because of that the standard of court-appointed specialists is (I think) falling

2001-1205 - FARE - Psychologists' Misconduct is Common Occurrence   
"Families Apart Require Equality" Press Release by Darryl Ward -
"The serious misconduct of senior psychologist Prue Vincent, who appears to have convinced a child that they had been sexually abused by their father when they had not, is nothing new and is indeed a common occurrence in the psychological 'profession'", Familes Apart Require Equality (FARE) spokes person Darryl Ward said today.

2001-1205 - Wairarapa Times Age - Vincent works in Wairarapa
The psychologist at the centre of a botched sex abuse investigation has been practising in Masterton for at least 10 years. Prue Vincent, who shares office space with Masterton lawyer Ken Daniells, is based in Wellington but works in Wairarapa part-time. Last month she was fined $5000 and censured for bungling an investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children.

2001-1205 - The Press - I am not to blame, says psychologist     
A psychologist who was fined and censured for her role in a sex abuse case said she should not be blamed for a decision made by the courts. Wellington child sex abuse expert Prue Vincent was fined $5000 and given a letter of censure after pleading guilty before the Psychologists Board to charges of conduct unbecoming. Ms Vincent had fought a newspaper's plans to publish her name. She said yesterday that the father in the case, who was wrongly accused of molesting his young children, was "mistaken in believing that I am responsible for his situation".

2001-1205 - Dominion - King calls for secrecy briefing     
by Leah Haines -
Health Minister Annette King has asked ministry officials to brief her on the secrecy of the Psychologists Board after it planned not to publish that a top psychologist had botched a sex abuse investigation. And the former head of the board, Barry Parsonson, and an international expert in child suggestibility, Maryanne Garry, have cast doubt on the ability of other psychologists working in the Family Court system. Last month, Wellington child sex abuse expert Prue Vincent pleaded guilty to two charges of conduct unbecoming a psychologist relating to her investigation into allegations that a father had abused his young children.

2001-1205 - Dominion - Open Courts Breed Justice
Opinion, Editorial -
Seldom has the case for doing justice in public been more convincingly illustrated than with the father wrongly accused of sexually abusing his children, deprived of all contact with them, and continually frustrated in his efforts to redress a monstrous wrong. It also encapsulates an injustice which is likely to be continually repeated as a result of the statutory secrecy of the Family Court. The man, whose story featured in The Dominion yesterday, became the victim of his former wife's accusations and the flawed "professional" services of psychologist Prue Vincent.

2001-1205 - Dominion - Prue Vincent Issues Statement
Public Statement by Prue Vincent -
The father is mistaken in believing that I am responsible for his situation. Decisions about the best interests of the children were made by the Family Court in a series of hearings between 1994 and 1999. I was involved in two of those hearings. Evidence of the father, mother and children was presented by a wide range of people including other professionals. At all times my approach was scrutinised by the court, and was the subject of rigorous cross-examination at the hearings. This is the normal process.

2001-1204 - Waikato Times - Psychologist works on   
Top Wellington psychologist Prue Vincent, who admitted charges of conduct unbecoming and was fined and censured for botching a sex abuse investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children when she appeared before the Psychologists Board on November 12, has been allowed to keep practising

2001-1204 - The Press - Psychologist still working     
A top psychologist who was fined and censured for botching a sex abuse investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children has been allowed to keep practising. Wellington child sex abuse expert Prue Vincent fought the Dominion newspaper in the courts to stop her name being published, claiming it would destroy her career. Yesterday, she abandoned her appeal, and said she would issue a statement later.

2001-1204 - One News - Psychologist gets abuse case wrong
A father's eight year battle against child abuse allegations has ended, but he is still not allowed to see his children. The psychologist who made the claims has been fined $5,000 after pleading guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming. Prue Vincent of Wellington has been censured by her professional body for:
Allowing the children's mother to be present at their interviews, Asking leading questions, Not interviewing the father, Interviewing the children too many times.

2001-1204 - Act Party - Inquiry needed into Family Court
Press Release by Dr Muriel
Newman - The case of a father cut off from his children because of the injustice of the Family Court and the actions of a child psychologist has prompted ACT Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman to renew her call for a comprehensive inquiry into the Family Court. "The Wellington father who was branded a paedophile and kept from his children has experienced the very worst of New Zealand's unjust Family Court system," Dr Newman said. "This father is a victim of the hysteria whipped up around the time of Peter Ellis' trial.  His rights have been trampled by the closeted nature of the Family Court.

2001-1204 - Radio NZ - Kim Hill Interviews Barry Parsonson
Transcript of Interview with reference to Botched Inquiry into Sex Abuse

2001-1204 - Dominion - Give me back my children
Features Story by Leah
Haines - Leah Haines talks to a father cut off from his young family after accusations of sexual abuse ….Some years ago, with no warning, his ex-wife accused him of sexually abusing their children. With no evidence that he had, and at a time when his young children still loved and wanted to see him, he was shut out of their lives. He has never been convicted of abuse or even charged – despite police investigation. He was never told what horrible things he was supposed to have done to his children and, since Father's Day many years ago, has never seen his children again. Five times he has battled in the Family Court to get access to them. It has cost him $82,000 and each time he has failed.

2001-1204 - Dominion - Botched Inquiry Into Sex Abuse
Top Story by Leah Haines -
A top psychologist who was fined and censured for botching a sex abuse investigation that left a man wrongly accused of molesting his young children has been allowed to keep practising. ….Ms Prue Vincent, once head of Social Welfare's psychologists team, and who regularly works for the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services…pleaded guilty to charges of conduct unbecoming on the basis she:

§                Allowed the mother to be present at interviews with the children.

§                Interviewed the children together.

§                Used books dealing with sexual abuse during her assessment.

§                Used leading questions during the interviews.

§                Did not observe the children in their wider environment or with their father.

§                Did not interview the father as a reference source.

§                Did not consider other explanations for the children's behaviour.

§                Accepted "without question" the mother's testimony while asking the father to put his rebuttals in writing.

§                She also failed to "make a transition in methodology" from her initial role as an assessor with Child, Youth and Family to that of a court-appointed psychologist during access hearings.

2001-1204 - Dominion - Gag Lifted     

This is the story a top health professional tried to stop The Dominion from publishing. Last week, Prue Vincent won an interim injunction preventing us publishing any details. Justice Ellis discharged the injunction yesterday after Ms Vincent abandoned her appeal and agreed to pay some of The Dominion's costs.