Friday, January 13, 2006

Crushed by carers

This blog would be trading under a false description if I failed to mention Wednesday night’s BBC 1 programme ‘When Satan came to town’ about the allegations of ritual satanic abuse of children in Rochdale in the late 1980s.

I watched the programme on video last night and it did make uncomfortable viewing. I remember well the air of moral panic that surrounded child abuse issues during that time. It demonstrates just how credulous intelligent, professional people can be, since the details of the allegations, repeated so many years later seemed self-evidently ludicrous.

What did the most damage was the absolute conviction of social workers that they were acting in the best interests of the children and that of course abuse was happening. It led them to ignore the evidence and manipulate the facts to suit their preconceptions. Although the programme was by no means sensationalist in tone, it was hard to escape the feeling that the treatment by the children by Rochdale Social Services itself amounted to abuse and cruelty.

As a society and we rightly find sexual abuse so wicked and abhorrent that there is a temptation to rush to judgement without giving those accused the presumption of innocence. Cases such as those of Ian Huntley or Victoria Climbie, where inaction by professionals led to tragedy, reinforce this.

So it is always tempting to think 'no smoke without fire', 'better safe than sorry' and therefore to deny natural justice to those who face accusations of abuse. There is also a temptation for those of us involved in public life to keep our heads down over such issues and keep quiet – we don't want it levelled at us that we are soft on child abusers.

But we have a duty to defend the rules of justice and to remember that even in pursuing the very noblest of ends we should not resort to dishonest means. More particularly we should respect evidence, retain healthy scepticism and not make people's lives subservient to moral crusades.

These questions are all dealt with in more depth and detail at the website of the author and campaigner Richard Webster, which readers may find interesting.


peter said...

I've dealt with social workers for fifteen years: I have a disabled foster sister. A great many have come and gone, and in all honesty I have met only one of with any professional quality and integrity. What happened in Rochdale, the manipulation of the children, the l;ack of an apology and the fact the two of those responsible are still in post comes as no surprise whatsoever.

Angus J Huck said...

This issue goes further than faddism and empire building by incompetent social workers.

Have you read any of David Icke's publications?

According to Icke, members of the elite practice ritual child abuse on a routine basis. Including leading politicians and members of the Royal Family, some of whom are shape-shifting reptiles.

Icke maintains that Ted Heath and Anthony Barber (both now deceased) were witnessed performing a ritual sacrifice of a child at Burnham Beeches in 1972 (Heath turned into a lizard in full view).

But wait. The witness only recalled this alleged event under HYPNOSIS.

Icke's informants are in the main people who have had memories of abuse "recovered" by therapists, usually under hypnosis. It is rare for anyone to remember this sort of thing unaided.

Frequently, the abuse is ritual in character, and often involves reptilian shape-shifters and famous people, like Ted Heath, Bob Hope and the Queen Mother.

You may think this ridiculous. But so was Rochdale.

And I know people who regard David Icke as a prophet. They dote on his every word.

And there are people who don't go so far as Icke but who consider hypnosis to be an infallible diagnostic tool.

Remember, you have to have a medical degree to practice as a doctor. Anyone can call themselves a "therapist" and charge people lots of money to mess with their minds.