How can a Private Investigator help someone caught in a cult?

Private investigators are able to help loved ones caught in cults

Would you know what to do if a friend or family member was pulled into a cult? For many people the answer is no; reaching out to someone who is a victim of a cult can be a difficult and arduous process, and not one that most people can achieve on their own. The very nature of a cult can turn your relatives against you, and prevent you from getting them out, or even recognising they’re in trouble at all.

Thankfully, professionals like Bond Rees are here to help. We have the experience and professionalism to handle cult cases, and the ability to infiltrate cults to gain evidence for further legal proceedings. In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cults: what they are, how to recognise them, and how you can use our expertise to help save your friends and family from the clutches of a malevolent and potentially dangerous situation. 

What is a cult?

A cult is an organised group of people, typically led by a single, charismatic individual, that aims to control and dominate its members through pressure strategies and brainwashing. They typically try to isolate their members from the outside world in order to make them easier to control and force their extreme beliefs and practises onto their members. Often, cults can become a sort of hive mind, with members expected to think and behave in the same way or else be punished or exiled. 

Cults tend to prey on vulnerable members of society, particularly those who struggle with loneliness and ‘fitting in’ or come from difficult backgrounds. People who have escaped cults have been known to describe the way they felt a sense of belonging in a cult before they realised what was going on. 

Most cults can be separated into four main categories with religious cults being the most common. These categories are: 

  • Religious cults. These can be off-shoots of existing religions, like Christianity, or an entirely new belief system based on an existing organised religion.The Church of Scientology would be an example of a religious cult, although members and founders vehemently deny its cult status.
  • Political cults.
  • Sex cults.
  • Doomsday cults.
How can I tell if someone I love is in cult?

How can I recognise a cult? 

Cults prefer to work in secrecy, it’s how many of its members get caught up in them. Due to this it can be difficult to know if what you’re dealing with is a cult – a simple Google search is unlikely to help you. Fortunately, there are several factors that nearly all cults have in common that can help you make an informed decision: 

  • A charismatic leader that claims to have special insights, abilities, or knowledge – especially where there is little evidence.
  • Pressure to conform quickly to the group’s beliefs.
  • A closed, tight-knit, group that follows the leaders and is incredibly secretive about the workings of the cult. 
  • Lies when being ‘recruited’. 
  • Claims that something bad will happen if you leave the cult. 
  • Exploitation; financially, physically, emotionally, and sexually.
  • Love bombing: An initial influx of praise for joining the group, often described as ‘being saved’ or ‘loved’ by the cult.

What are the warning signs someone I love might be in a cult? 

If you are not in the cult yourself, you might not be able to see all the warning signs we listed above. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t others to be on the lookout for in the people you love. 

  • Obsessiveness over a leader or prominent figure, especially when this becomes detrimental to other relationships in their lives. 
  • Reliance on the group to tell them what they should think about something, rather than forming their own opinions. 
  • Any criticism of the group is taken as an attack. 
  • Suddenly donating a lot of money to a single organisation or group, especially when doing so puts them in a shaky financial position. 
  • Extreme or rigid beliefs that don’t appear to align with standard religious teachings. 
  • A sudden mistrust of science and experts without proper evidence.
  • Isolation, including breaking off relationships if someone doesn’t join the cult. 

How to get somebody out of a cult

When a friend or family member gets sucked into a cult, it’s important to know the best ways to help them. Social stigma or judgement can make the situation worse, so approaching with caution is the best way to handle it. Below are some tips for helping someone leave a cult:

  • Be careful with the language you use –  do not belittle or mock them.
  • Do not start the conversation with accusations of being brainwashed or in a cult
  • Research the cult before you start – see what information on beliefs or shady practices you can uncover and bring evidence if you can. 
  • Ask questions such as “how would your family feel if you were asked to abandon them for the cult?” 
  • Encourage critical thinking.
  • Provide a safe space to recuperate when they do leave the cult.
  • Give them time – rebuilding your life after a cult can be very difficult. 
Private investigators in the UK are able to infiltrate cults to help loved ones out.

How can Bond Rees help if someone is in a cult? 

Even with the above advice, talking someone into leaving a cult from the outside is a very difficult thing to do, as cults tend to generate a feeling of mistrust towards outsiders. To get around this problem, Bond Rees’s team of highly trained private investigators will infiltrate a cult through undercover work. This provides us with direct contact to your friend or family member in an environment where they are more open to hearing concerns. We can then encourage them to think critically about their situation and in some cases open their eyes to the psychological abuse they are suffering and the lies they have been fed. From there, we will support the victim in leaving and notify any authorities if needed. Bond Rees have the experience and expertise to handle these complex cases and take the weight off of your shoulders. 

In some cases, people who join cults may become so isolated that they appear to have disappeared. In these instances, Bond Rees are able to use their people tracing expertise to locate the missing individual. A full report will be provided to you, where we will discuss our next steps. 

Our team of private investigators is made up of ex-police and military personnel who have the experience and training to pull off undercover work in situations like these, and understand the best ways to approach someone who may have been brainwashed by a cult. We aim to handle every case with sensitivity and care, to ensure everyone receives the help they need and the support they deserve. 

If you are concerned a friend or family member may have joined a cult, contact Bond Rees today. 

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