Ritual abuse studies
Study of childhood ritual abuse in the UK
Makeup of the Study:
The ritual abuse panic appears to have been triggered largely by the publishing
of a book on Satanic ritual abuse in 1980. 1 (This book has been shown to
be a fraud by three separate investigators). Although the panic started in
the United States, American ritual abuse "experts" helped spread the hoax
to the United Kingdom. Seminars given to police groups and social service
agencies triggered many Multi-Victim, Multi-Offender
(MVMO) cases (e.g. Bishop Auckland, Cleveland,
Rochdale, Orkey and Pembroke). Some of these British MVMO cases
resulted in dismissal of all charges or acquittals. But others sent probably innocent
people to jail.
two of these children have since been returned home after no evidence of
Satanic ritual abuse was found. Those two were from the "W" family in
Orkney. They were placed in a foster home in 1991 at the ages of 4 and 7.
They denied that they had been abused and no reliable evidence was found
of either sexual assault or Satanic ritual abuse. They were refused any access
to their mother, starting in 1992 and put up for adoption in 1996 against
the wishes of their mother. Their 22-year-old sister, who was returned to her
family of origin said she believed they would have been told their mother no
longer wanted them. She said: "When I was taken and kept at a children's home,
the social workers and care assistants constantly told me my mother no longer
loved me and that my whole family had turned their backs on me. I was
brainwashed into thinking I was alone and nobody wanted me."
The Health Secretary of the British government, Mrs. Virginia Bottomley,
ordered a study of ritual abuse in 1991, after a number of children were
taken into care in Rochdale and Orkney during a panic by social workers.
Professor Jean La Fontaine headed a team at Manchester University which
evaluated all known British ritual abuse cases. She issued her report in
Results of the Study:
Mrs. Bottomley concluded that Christians in opposition to new
religious movements had been "a powerful influence encouraging the
identification of Satanic abuse".
The report defined ritual abuse as "sexual abuse where there have been
allegations of ritual associated with the abuse, whether or not these
allegations have been taken any further or tested in the courts".
Satanic abuse was defined as "a ritual directed to worship of the Devil".
|There were 967 cases alleging organized abuse and 86 cases of
alleged ritual abuse
during 1988 to 1991 incl. in England |
|From this data, 8% of all sex abuse allegations involved ritual abuse.
|Cases occurred in small concentrations: of the 86 ritual abuse cases, 21
were in Nottinghamshire, 12 in London, 14 in the South East and 12 in the
North West. |
|Most cases involved "very poor people". Most were unemployed;
only 3 had middle class occupations. |
|Human sacrifice was alleged in 35 cases; none could be proved. |
|The use of ceremonial robes was alleged in 28 cases, and corroborating in
|Interviews with children were poorly done; frequent, direct and aggressive
questions were asked. (This technique has now been shown to implant
"memories" in the minds of young children of abuse that
never happened.) |
|No evidence exists for Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) in England. |
|3 cases involving child molesters were found in which the perpetrators
pretended to be Satanists in order to better control their child victims. |
|Unfounded rumors of SRA had been spread on the basis of dubious
|Some Evangelical Christians, psychologists, childcare workers, and
health-care professionals were held responsible for the myth. |
|The SRA myth deflected care and concern away from the real plight of
many abused children. |
Some quotations from Prof. La Fontaine were:
|"I think the Evangelicals created the climate in which people could
believe this sort of thing was happening." |
|"People began thinking that perhaps it was something they hadn't seen
because they hadn't looked and though they had better start looking. That
argument is mistaken because we are not talking about a different kind of
abuse. It is the same old sexual abuse." |
|"In these cases, the children were worryingly disturbed. It was easy
to make a mistake by assuming that, because the children were so damaged,
what had happened to them must have been so much worse than normal sexual
|"The fact is that the small children didn't actually say these things
[allegation of SRA]. They said bits and pieces that were picked up by the
|"You can never say that something doesn't exist. All I can say is that
there is no evidence in the cases I have examined." |
|"What is defended as 'what children say' may be nothing of the sort"
- Dr. Lawrence Pazder & Michelle Smith, Michelle Remembers, Pocket
Books, (1980), ISBN 0-671-69433-2).
- Prof. J.S. Lafontaine, [Great Britain] Department of Health, "Extent
& Nature of Organized Ritual Abuse" ISBN 011 11 321797 8; 1994-May.
Available from Unipub, 4611-F Assembly Drive, Lanham MD 20706, for USF$ 11.49
- Daily Telegraph, London, England, Friday 1994-JUN-3
Copyright © 1996 & 2000 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2000-MAY-14
Author: B.A. Robinson