Sunday, April 18, 2021

Who abuses who? (1993)

Book Review from the April 1993 issue of the Socialist Standard

Suffer the Little Children by Dr D.H.S Read. Medical Institute for Research into Children Cruelty, Step Rock House, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland, KY16 9AT. £15.00.

On a cold morning in February 1991 police and social workers invaded the Isles of Orkney. These pre-dawn raids, unlike those carried out by the Vikings over 1000 years earlier, though similar in that the perpetrators had the element of surprise, were carefully planned and synchronized.

Seven homes were forcibly entered and searched, and 9 children aged between 8 and 15 years were removed in a matter of minutes. For those who were to live through the following nightmare it might have seemed as if history was repeating itself. Not only was there the Viking analogy, but the events resembled in many ways the witch-hunts of the 16th and 17th centuries that also visited the islands. Indeed, witchcraft, or rather the satanic abuse of children, was what the parents and friends of the 9 children were alleged to have perpetrated.

Dr Reid’s book is a careful study of what followed in the Orkney Child Abuse Scandal, revealing much that was suppressed by child care “experts” and the media. Many pages are given over to what an advert for the book describes as “how social workers—police— the medical profession and the law courts combine to destroy innocent families in child abuse allegations”.

The recent industry in child abuse allegations is traced back to the late 1960s when:
 under the benevolent torpitude or turpitude of a Labour government, which forgot that it should protect the weak against the strong, and not the other way around, the public bureaucracies in Britain developed a life and momentum of their own. The bosses in local government, in the health service, social services and other publicly funded bodies, decided that it was time that their powers were increase.
The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 and the Childrens and Young Persons Act 1969 greatly increased the powers of social workers to take children into care “on the flimsiest of grounds”.The result being that there has been in excess of 50 inquiries into child abuse disasters since 1970. There was only one such inquiry before this date.

Among the hundreds of sources Dr Reid uses is an article from the Daily Telegraph Magazine of 11 January 1991:
What organisation does the following, the Stasi before 1990 or the social work child care system today in Britain?
  1. Takes people into custody without warning at any time of the day or night.
  2. Opens, copies and even confiscates their post. Denies them rights.
  3. Keeps surveillance of more than 4 million people.
  4. Has a network of informers.
  5. Depends on loyalty to the system, from self-interest. And is a State within a State.
  6. Is expanding at a phenomenal rate at vast cost.
  7. Has no statutory provision governing or constraining some of its powers, apart from guidelines.
  8. Threatens those who disagree with it.
  9. Ruins many lives.
  10. Says, when things go wrong: "What could I have done differently?”.
“The answer”, says Dr Reid, “is both”. And much evidence is presented to corroborate the parallel.

The book goes on to reveal one of the great contradictions when it comes to child law, which is basically that in spite of so much legislation on the subject, the child has in fact few, if any, legal rights once in the custody of the social services.

A child taken into care by social workers is compared with a criminal in police custody. Whereas the prisoner has the right to remain silent, the right to legal representation, access to a telephone, uncensored mail and contact with family, the child has no rights.

Social workers have become very dependent on “Disclosure Sessions”, so much so that the entire case for the social services in the Orkney Child Abuse Scandal rested on “evidence” extracted at them. “Disclosure Sessions", as Dr Reid points out more than once, “involve constant repeated interviews with children in which suggestions are made to children by social workers or others until the child agrees with the professional worker . . . a form of intellectual rape”.

It does not matter that the child may not have been abused, nor that the parent alleged to have committed the act may be by now suicidal. The skilled social worker will, without fail, extract evidence of abuse, and “how much more might a child agree to errors and fantasies when suddenly wrenched from his or her home environment and told that he or she will not be allowed home until he or she agrees to the story told by the inquisitor”.

There are those who maintain that children always tell the truth and cannot be made to tell lies. Dr Reid shatters this argument with plain fact. The Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four, men not children, confessed to crimes they did not commit. If the well-known television presenter Stuart Hall can “admit within ten minutes of a police interview to a theft he had not carried out then we cannot expect a child to be more resistant to manipulation”.

And so the book continues. Not a stone is left unturned and no body connected with the State-established Child Abuse industry escapes criticism. That the book ends with pointers as to how to reform the system along the lines of the “Dutch model”, and does not consider the capitalist social system we are conditioned to live in, does not distract from its excellence.
John Bissett

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