Officer criticises lack of evidence From The Independent, Thurs 09.08.90 A POLICE expert i
Officer criticises lack of evidence
From The Independent, Thurs 09.08.90
A POLICE expert in child abuse yesterday criticised the lack of
evidence provided by groups highlighting cases of alleged ritual
sexual abuse of children.
Det Insp Sylvia Aston, a policy adviser on rape and child abuse to the
West Midlands Police, said: "I do not know of any persons who have
given any information whatsoever to the police which remotely
substantiates some of the claims that they make."
She particularly criticised claims that foetuses had been induced
before term, sacrificed and then eaten during satanic ceremonies. Her
comments reflect the general police scepticism.
Insp Aston said: "A simple medical examination would at least indicate
whether or not the women making these claims had in fact ever been
pregnant and would provide the police with a starting point." She was
attending the final day of an international conference on incest and
abuse at Harrow in north-west London.
However, Sue Hutchinson, founder of Safe, a helpline for victims of
ritual abuse, said that such examinations would be inconclusive since
a long period had usually elapsed by the time those involved
disclosed, during counselling, what had happened.
She added that Safe was co-operating with one police force and hoped
to be able to secure forensic evidence.
Several psychotherapists and psychiatrists have told the Independent
privately of patients speaking of teenagers who had births induced
before term. These foetuses were then sacrificed, their patients said.
Insp Aston said she was worried that if claims were not supported with
evidence they could damage other work on child abuse. "Those who claim
to help others will discredit their own aims if they are unprepared to
back them with evidence. As a police officer, I keep an open mind. I
believe satanic abuse occurs on rare occasions. We have had a handful
of proven cases in the past decade."
She said she found it difficult to believe that a child would show no
revealing signs of anxiety after the horrific abuse detailed by some
Counsellors say that ritually abused children develop multiple
personalities to block out the abuse. They may appear normal unless
Many have been unable to recall experiences until they had undergone
lengthy psychotherapy. The patients describe bodies being destroyed by
acid or buried in existing graves.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank