PROFESSOR WARNS OF SATAN MANIA DANGERS
Mail On Sunday 16.09.90 Page 15 - Inset To File MS160990.ASC
MANY social workers are over-influenced by what they hear at
professional conferences about abuse, child psychologist Elisabeth
Professor Newson, who acted as consultant in the child abuse
investigation in Nottingham, said; "Social workers are told at these
conferences: 'Watch Out, it's coming your way.'
"So when they get back to their own patch they start seeing signs of
ritualistic abuse. When you are told something at a conference there
is a tendency to believe that it must be true."
Professor Newson, director of Nottingham University's Child
Development Research Unit, believes there may be a direct link between
conferences and the current mania for exposing alleged Satanic abuse.
She said: "Social workers are under pressure to have learned something
from conferences. People in their department refer to them for advice,
so they become the expert.
"The situation is self perpetuating. They come across examples, then
they are the speaker at the next conference.
"This means they have a very strong commitment to believing in it -
their reputation is on the line.
"Children's evidence must be taken seriously, but that does not mean
it must be believed without question.
"There is a danger some social workers are losing perspective. And
when you find yourself waking a child at 7am to take him away from
home, then that's losing perspective.
"But social workers become emeshed in their own beliefs. In order to
draw children out, they sometimes ask loaded questions which would
never be accepted in court.
"They are acting on their own convictions that abuse is taking place.
"The children may believe they have been involved in ritual abuse. It
doesn't mean they have. It needs corroborative evidence - and there
has been no corroboration in these cases."