LETTER : False memory claims: a dangerous diversion

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The Independent Online
From Ms Beth Durham Sir: Liz Hunt ("Recovered memories of sex abuse `usually true'", 13 January) suggests that the British Psychological Society's report into recovered memories will do little to defuse the fierce debate about "false memories". The BPS is to psychologists

what the BMA is to doctors. Surely their comments are to be taken seriously?

Is Ms Hunt pessimistic because so much attention is being focused on 550 families (1,000 individuals perhaps) who belong to the British False Memory Society and so little on the seven million people in Britain who have been abused (the NSPCC quotes the incidence of abuse as 1 in 8 of the population)?

I recognise the possibility of false reporting and bad practice by ill- equipped "professionals" but let's hear about the good ones and the immense value of their work. Let's hear, too, about the perpetrators of abuse who are using notions of false memories to reinforce false denial of their guilty actions. Most of all, let's hear about the additional trauma all this is to those victims who have already suffered so much.

Biased emphasis about ideas of false memories is delaying the healing of abusers and the abused alike.

Yours faithfully, BETH DURHAM Nottingham 13 January

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