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Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic (Part 1)

David Aaronovitch traces the intellectual influences behind society's shift from wrongful denial of child sexual abuse to excessive credulity.

David Aaronovitch of The Times traces the powerful intellectual influences behind what he sees as one of the most important cultural shifts of the past 40 years: from a society in which accusations of sexual abuse were wrongly ignored to one in which the falsely accused were crushed by a system where the mantra was "victims must be believed".

In the first of two programmes, Aaronovitch will examine the role played by unproven psychoanalytic theories which, from the 1980s, spread from the world of therapists in Canada and the USA to social work, medicine and then to law enforcement in Britain.

From the NSPCC to academia it was believed that children were being sexually abused in group Satanic rituals, which involved murder and animal sacrifice. The programme will explore how these bizarre ideas took hold, how they were related to mistaken psychotherapeutic practices, and how they resonate still.

The programme will look at the influences of four books which played a key role in influencing the intellectual and cultural climate. These are Sybil, Michelle Remembers, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and The Courage to Heal.

Producer: Hannah Barnes

Rosie Waterhouse - Investigative Journalist; Head of MA in investigative journalism at City University

Debbie Nathan - Investigative Journalist and Author

Tim Tate - Television Producer and Director

Sue Hampson - Former counsellor, and now Director of Safe to Say Trauma Informed Training and Consultancy

Roma Hart - Former Multiple Personality Disorder patient, who has retracted claims she was abused in childhood.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Sun 31 May 2015 21:30


  • Mon 25 May 2015 20:30
  • Sun 31 May 2015 21:30

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