sex abuse in Catholic children’s homes, “False Memory” disinformation

May 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Victims of sex abuse in Catholic children’s homes set to win damages ‘Vulnerable’ claimant showed ‘incredible endurance’ in pursuing group’s case for 21 years to its conclusion at the high court Jamie Doward The Observer, Sunday 9 May 2010 One of the longest-running legal cases in UK history, centred on systemic sexual abuse at children’s homes in the north-west of England, is poised to end after a judge found in favour of two men who claimed they had been sexually assaulted while in care. A judgment handed down in the high court on Friday determined that the men had been abused while in the care of the Nugent Care Society, formerly Catholic Social Services, in Liverpool. It also cast doubt on the testimony by two former staff members at the homes who had denied the men’s claims. The allegations centred on sexual abuse between 1968 and 1982 at two children’s homes for juvenile offenders, St Aidan’s and St Vincent’s, both in Liverpool, which have now closed. The homes became notorious following high-profile court cases in the mid-1990s that resulted in criminal convictions for a number of paedophiles who had worked at them.

The “False Memory” Defense: Using Disinformation and Junk Science in and out of Court Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., F.A.S.A.M. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse 9 (3 & 4) Haworth Press (2001) This article describes a seemingly sophisticated, but mostly contrived and often erroneous “false memory” defense, and compares it in a brief review to what the science says about the effect of trauma on memory. Child sexual abuse is widespread and dissociative/traumatic amnesia for it is common. Accused, convicted and self-confessed child molesters and their advocates have crafted a strategy that tries to negate their abusive, criminal behavior, which we can call a “false memory” defense.

False Memory Syndrome – Child Abuse Wiki
The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992 by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF)[1]. It has been called “a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse.”[1] The FMSF was created by parents who claimed to be falsely accused of child sexual abuse.[1] The False Memory Syndrome was described as “a widespread social phenomenon where misguided therapists cause patients to invent memories of sexual abuse.”[1] Research has shown that most delayed memories of childhood abuse are true[2]. In general, it has been shown that false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are rare, with some studies showing rates as low as one percent[3][4] and some studies showing slightly higher rates[3]. It has been found that children tend to understate rather than overstate the extent of any abuse experienced[3]. It has been stated that misinformation on the topic of child sexual abuse is widespread and that the media have contributed to this problem by reporting favorably on unproven and controversial claims like the False Memory Syndrome[5].

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