Polygraph use is becoming more popular for business & personal reasons
Exclusive by Adelina Campos
Irish couples are forcing their wayward partners to take lie detector tests to prove they are not cheating. Lie Detector Ltd, the first company to offer polygraph tests in Ireland, has revealed that couples facing relationship problems make up at least half their business.
The firm’s CEO Sian Devine said:
We get a lot of couples coming in to resolve trust issues that they have had for years. In many cases, one person in the couple has had an affair which was uncovered and they’ve worked it out with their partner but there is still doubt there. Whoever is taking the test will say that it was their own fault and they want to prove they haven’t done anything else.
But we also get other people who have almost been forced to come along because they feel that if they don’t take the test their partner will think they must be guilty. So they can be annoyed about having to answer very personal questions. A lot of them are embarrassed because they associate polygraphs with the Jeremy Kyle show. They would tell us ‘I’m not the type of person who would usually do this sort of thing’.
We’ve also seem couples who have been together for say 30 years but they’ve never got past that one issue, that’s really sad.
There’s normally a huge sense of relief when it’s over and they tell us that they wish they had taken the test before.
Sian explained that while the couples may come from all walks of life, women from the Travelling community frequently use the service.
She explained that is because these young women often feel compelled to prove that they have been faithful to their betrothed before the wedding takes place.
The people we have met from the Travelling community take relationships very seriously. They would consider it a grave offence if their fiancée texted someone behind their back- let alone kissed them or more.
This would be enough reason for them to cancel a wedding so the girls really want to show that they have been completely loyal.
And they know the test results will be well accepted within their own community.
Sian also revealed that the festive period was viewed as the calm before the storm in the profession.
There is a seasonal difference. We find after Christmas there is a rush, we get a big increase in calls. We think it must be that people are forced to spend time together so issues surface. We always get more calls after a holiday period- even a bank holiday- but the biggest hike would be around January.
When the weather is good we do not get as many calls. When the sun is out people are happy to leave their problems for a while.
While Sian expected cheating spouses to make up the bulk of her clients, she admits she is still surprised by the variety of customers that have come through the door in just under two years.
When we set up this business we did expect that most of our clients would be coming from a typical TV chat show scenario because that’s how a lot of people would have become aware of polygraph and its use. And about half the cases we deal with involve cheating partners. But what surprised us is that we get a lot of sexual abuse cases as well.
Every time there is a big scandal like the Jimmy Savile or clerical abuse allegations. It seems to stir up memories in some people who want to open up about their own abuse- whether or not their attacker is alive. If the victim and the abuser are part of the same family it can be very difficult, it can be easier for relatives to believe that the abuse never happened.
The victim doesn’t necessarily want to go to gardai but they might want their family to believe them.
We also have situations where people have been accused of sexual abuse and want to clear their name. we often find that it happens in family law cases. For example, when parents have split up and there may be allegations of untoward behaviour towards the children.
Or in new relationships, a woman’s children may accuse a new partner of abusing them.
In the US, the FBI, CIA and other police departments use lie detector tests as part of the investigative process and also screen potential employees. In many states sex offenders are even obliged to take polygraph tests before and after they get parole.
Research carried out show that sex offenders are more likely to cooperate with their parole officer, to provide them with information when they know that they will have to complete a lie detector test.
In Ireland, results from polygraph tests can be used as evidence in court provided they are accepted by the judge.
Companies will use a polygraph test to ensure that their employees have no criminal background or are not involved in reported theft.
We get security companies that might want to do a screening test especially when there is a threat of tiger kidnappings . They want to make sure their new employees won’t use their business to facilitate a crime, so we test different areas.
We would also get employees who contact us after theft has been committed in their office and they want to prove they weren’t involved. If they are under suspicion with say three or four other people, it’s quite likely they will all offer to take a test because by refusing to take it may look like an indication of guilt.
Printed in The Irish Sunday Mirror, 2nd December 2012