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Makeup of the Study

A massive study of ritualistic child abuse was completed in the fall of 1994. (1) It was funded by the US Federal Government's National Centre on Child Abuse and Neglect.

They obtained responses from over 6900 clinicians (psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and social workers); and from over 4600 agencies (county District Attorneys, Departments of Social Services and municipal Law Enforcement agencies).

They uncovered over 12,000 cases of suspected ritual abuse. But when they looked for cases that they could say with some confidence actually exhibited evidence of abuse, they found only one.

Dr. Gail Goodman, a psychologist at the University of California at Davis led the study. She said "After scouring the country, we found no evidence for large-scale cults that sexually abuse children". She continued: "While you would not expect to find corroborating evidence in many sexual abuse cases, you would expect it when people claim the rituals involved murders, and the reported cases come from district attorneys or police...If there is anyone out there with solid evidence of satanic cult abuse of children, we would like to know about it."

David Lloyd, the director of the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect (the funding agency) said "Since the McMartin preschool case there have been claims of ritualistic and sadistic child abuse in cases all over the country, and we've been concerned. The survey was to see just how well-founded these concerns are - if these are just based on mistaken perceptions or there is some firm evidence."

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Results of the Study

Some of their findings include:
bullet 12,264 cases of suspected SRA were found.
bullet 69% of clinicians reported no cases; most of the rest reported 1 or 2; 1.4% of the clinicians reported over 100 cases each.
bullet the vast majority of clinicians believe their clients to be telling the truth about real events.
bullet 77% of the agencies reported no cases; most of the rest reported 1 or 2; 2.2% of the agencies reported over 100 cases each
bullet The vast majority of agencies believe their clients to be telling the truth about real events
bullet Only 1 of the 12,264 suspected cases could confidently be accepted as real abuse This involved a 16 year old male whose parents were Satanists. He took part in rituals which sometimes involved sexual activity. He was an observer, victim and perpetrator. None of the usual factors associated with the public's perception of Satanic Ritual Abuse was present in this case; no infant killing, animal torturing, blood drinking, flesh eating, etc.
bullet child victims' stories do not agree with adult survivor memories: child victims report scary activities (e.g. being put in a coffin and lowered into a grave); adult survivors talk of child memories of horrendous activities (e.g. including the killing of infants, cannibalism, drinking blood, the most extreme torture and mutilation, etc).
bullet Little or no physical evidence found; usually scars that could have been self inflicted.
bullet No child pornography involving Satanic themes has ever been discovered in US.
bullet No evidence of Generational Satanists exists.
bullet No evidence exists of bizarre and horrible Satanic ritual abuse scenarios which regularly occurred in many repressed memory cases among adults.
bullet No unequivocal evidence of large scale, well organized Satanic cults exists.
bullet A major problem was uncovered of Christian based child abuse:
bullet Beating the devil out of the child during exorcisms,
bullet Excessive child discipline ("sparing the rod spoils the child")
bullet Depriving children of medical help in favour of prayer.

This Problem appears to be concentrated among a very few members of conservative Christian churches.

bullet Young children were found to have little precise knowledge of Satanic symbols and rituals.
bullet A very small percentage of the therapists and a very small percentage of the agencies reported essentially all of the cases of non-Christian ritual abuse. The study organizers speculate that these therapists and agencies may be creating memories of childhood abuse due to their therapy and interview techniques.

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Clearing House on Child Abuse & Neglect Information, Characteristics & Sources of Allegations of Ritual Child Abuse, Suite 350, 3998 Fair Ridge Dr., Fairfax VA, 22033, $20 US. Issued 1994-Fall. Free summary available by calling (703) 385-7565.

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