Bishop cautions against using term “false memory” in House of lords. 2001

lewis chessman

 Thankfully,  there were some powerful people in the UK who dared to criticise the false memory movement

One of them was the now retired Bishop of Birmingham, Mark Santer who said this in the House of Lords in 2001:-

“The notion of “false accusations” deserves some critical examination.It is often used to refer to cases in which an investigation does not lead to a criminal conviction.

But we know a great deal more now than we did only a few years ago about the abuse of children and young people.

We know about the skill and cunning of many abusers, the powerlessness of children and young people, the difficulty that we have in listening to them and the difficulty that people experience for very many years in speaking about traumatic experiences, together with the inherent difficulty of securing convictions in situations where it is very unlikely that there will be other witnesses.

We also know that there is a great deal of hidden abuse.

When convictions are secured, it is common for several–often a large number–of other incidents to emerge. Very many cases never come to court, even though there is a moral certainty that there has been abuse.

I can remember a case where a priest was brought to trial. Two boys were involved. The prosecution outlined the case.

One boy gave evidence, but the other, the younger brother, panicked and would not go into the witness box. The case collapsed.

The man in question went around saying that he was not guilty. The police knew, and I knew, otherwise.”

Thank you Bishop




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