By: David Bloomberg Re: Costs of FMS (File: FMSCOSTS.ZIP) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt (c) Newsda

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By: David Bloomberg Re: Costs of FMS (File: FMSCOSTS.ZIP) From:!!aaron (Aaron Larson) To: MIT.EDU!witchhunt (c) Newsday, Inc., 1/9/1995, Pg. A-27 Viewpoint: Repressed Memories By Susan Kiss Sarnoff, DSW. Garden City I want to applaud Jamie Talan's even-handed discussion of the repression of childhood memories of sexual abuse ["When Memories Collide," Health & Discovery, Dec. 17]. I was particularly pleased that the sidebar noted the financial effects these claims have on a state crime-victim compensation program. Although Washington was used in the example, repressed memory claims are the fastest-growing type of claims among such programs. We must develop means of objectivity determining the accuracy of long-repressed "memories" of sexual abuse. Such information should not be used against claimants, but to identify practitioners who tend to "diagnose" false memory syndrome with too little data (and perhaps too much ideology). Real victims of sexual abuse deserve compensation for mental health treatment no matter when the abuse occurred. But the sudden "discovery" of this phenomenon, and the number of claims which have resulted from it, suggest that some claims based upon it are false. Unless this cost is controlled, victims of other crimes will continue to see reductions in compensation for funerals, lost wages and medical bills, which have already been necessitated by the increase in mental health claims by victims of long-past abuse. Finally, we must recognize that increased government for crime victims and recent tort precedents give people reasons to lie about being victims. In the absence of alternative means of paying for needed services, some people will claim to be victims to obtain the "benefits" of that status. We must not be in such a hurry to help that we fail to control fraud and abuse in a poorly funded system which hardly meets the needs of actual victims.


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