A specially commissioned government report will this week conclude thatsatanic abuse does take place in Britain. It will say that its victims havesuffered actual abuse and are not suffering from "false memory syndrome". The report, ordered by the Department of Health, focuses on the experiencesof 50 "survivors". Compiled by Dr John Hale, director of the Portman Clinicin London, and psychotherapist Valerie Sinason, it will reopen the debatewhich started a decade ago with testimonies from children in Nottingham,Rochdale and Orkney. Its findings contradict the claims of a report ordered by the Conservativegovernment in 1994, which concluded that satanic abuse was a "myth". It follows the growing concern of child protection agencies, and theGovernment, over organised child abuse. Last week, it emerged that police were investigating the alleged sexual andphysical abuse of up to 4,000 children in care homes and council-run homesin Devon. Ms Sinason, who has treated 126 ritual abuse survivors, said yesterday thatin many cases children were tortured by being held under water or made tobelieve they had witnessed the murder of infants as part of the satanicritual. "Some children are born for the purpose of abuse and are not registered onbirth certificates," she added. "The abusers use trickery to convincechildren they have taken part in murder. This increases the power of theabuser." The report will point to the difficulty of bringing prosecutions because ofthe problems of putting abused children into the witness box. There arecurrently at least five cases involving ritual abuse in the hands oflawyers. Lee Moore, a barrister who founded the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers,and was himself a victim of ritual abuse, said it was hard to persuadepeople to give evidence, particularly after the 1994 report claimingsatanic abuse was a myth perpetuated by social workers. The latest report was welcomed by Dr Joan Coleman, a Surrey psychiatristwho has spent 14 years treating victims. "A lot of children are born intosatanic families who indulge in this ritual abuse," she said. "It's onlynow that child sexual abuse is being exposed that people are beginning tobelieve ritual abuse exists." The report will be studied by John Hutton, the health department ministerwith responsibility for child protection. He is expected to order an investigation into its findings.
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