Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Read It And Weep 11

*****RIAW 10, here: RIAW 9, here: RIAW 8, here: RIAW 7, here: RIAW 6, here: 
RIAW 5, here:  RIAW 4, here: RIAW 3, here: RIAW 2, here: RIAW 1, here.*****


Forced Labour (WP/WF/WCA), Welfare, Entitlements and General


AT LEAST 100k a year hit by highest-level benefit sanctions
Draft Deregulation Bill: Government moves to shut down judicial supervision and criticism of DWP-Atos decision making

Work Test Whistleblower: Are Atos About To Drop The WCA Contract?

Workfare is already here. Nobody told the Taxpayers’ Alliance

Force claimants to work for benefits, government urged

‘Work for the Dole’

‘Work for the dole’ is a poor show

New attempt to demean benefit claimants launched by right-wing loonies

Working and workless households 2013 statistics – with Inclusion’s focus on lone parent employment rates

Result of WCA consultations

Food Banks Grow and Grow

DWP has stopped refering desperate people to food banks, claims charity | Political Scrapbook

Attitudes of different generations to the welfare system

‘Poverty porn’? Who benefits from documentaries on Recession Britain?

London Homelessness Soars In First Three Months of Benefit Cap

Why is the Labour Party in bed with a RIGHT-wing thinktank?

Government admits ‘hiding’ benefit cap stats

Why Iain Duncan Smith is no longer a quiet man but a dangerous one | Marina Hyde

Referred to a psychologist - for wanting to record Jobcentre interviews

Growth is an illusion. What we’ve got is a more widely spread falling national average income

What were Iain Duncan Smith’s ‘welfare reforms’ really about? | Sue Marsh


Universal Credit


NAO report on Universal Credit

Will Universal Credit ever work? – NAO report

CPAG statement on NAO report on Universal Credit

Universal Credit, “Slight Delay” as Report Dams “Weak Management, Ineffective Control and Poor Governance.”

Making Universal Credit work, and making work pay

Billions To Be Spent On Bullshit - The Sorry Tale Of Universal Credit

Numbers in a twist, Mr Duncan Smith? – Comment – Voices – The Independent

Alistair Darling: I was warned that Universal Credit would be unworkable

The verdict: Universal Credit is a Governmental Disgrace

Duncan Smith can’t avoid the blame for the Universal Credit disaster

Why does truth on Universal Credit emerge only now?

Universal Credit And Zero Hours Contracts - A Car Crash Waiting To Happen

Universal Credit shambles uncovered in new report


Universal Jobmatch



Sunday, 1 September 2013

Read It And Weep 10

*****RIAW 9, here: RIAW 8, here: RIAW 7, here: RIAW 6, here: RIAW 5, here:
RIAW 4, here: RIAW 3, here: RIAW 2, here: RIAW 1, here.*****


Forced Labour (WP/WF/WCA), Welfare, Entitlements and General


Timetable of Forthcoming Welfare Benefit Changes

Four stages of deceit
Stop Helping Me, Iain

Unemployment and the Work Ethic
In All Fairness...

I'm proud of our welfare reforms (Guardian)

Iain Duncan Smith - true to form

Supporting vulnerable people back into society requires time, patience and commitment, not punitive measures

Sanctions: hitting the most vulnerable

Government MUST Tell Public The Truth About Benefits Fraud

Only one problem with the government’s list of top ten benefits fraudsters – it doesn’t exist

Every local council got every bedroom tax decision legally and badly wrong

Most families hit by benefits cap 'have no job or housing options'

Benefit Cap Based On Bare-Faced Lie

Labour to substantially cut benefits bill if it wins power in 2015 (Guardian)

Ed Miliband: We WILL Scrap Hated Bedroom Tax

Three More Remploy Factories To Close

Report Calls For Expansion Of Residential Workfare For Unemployed and Disabled People

Outsourcing Jobcentre Plus - the first steps?

They've got away with it

Work Programme figures - fail!

Work Programme official statistics (GOV.UK)

Desperately spinning
STOP PRESS - contradictory figures
Number Of Young Jobless Higher Than When Coalition Came To Power

Why Osborne must publish the names of every benefits claimant - and how much we pay them: An incendiary idea to save on our £500m A DAY welfare bill (Daily Mail)

DWP minister Hoban gets JSA amount WRONG - and jobseeking unaffordable


Universal Credit

A New Coach/Athlete Model

The DWP Coach/Athlete Model
"Dear Rosie,

I’ve confirmed with policy experts that we don’t require either a legislative change or new legislation to enable the roll-out of the Claimant Commitment to JSA Claimants. This is because the Claimant Commitment will be used within the current JSA regime. Building on the successful Live Innovation Trials and Pathfinder approach, we are preparing for the introduction of Universal Credit by introducing a programme of learning and development for advisers to embed a cultural change and a new coach/athlete model for supporting claimants. This will include strengthening how we shift claimant behaviour towards proactive job-search that sets the right foundation ahead of Universal Credit’s smoother, clearer, more stable incentives to work. This will be supported by improved products, primarily the Claimant Commitment, which will help to enable this change. It is important to note that whilst the Claimant Commitment will replace the existing product for the claimant group agreed for roll-out, it will for legislative purposes act as the Jobseeker’s Agreement and claimant acceptance of it will not be a condition of entitlement for JSA as it will be for Universal Credit.

You are correct to say that generally claimants who are able to work would fall into the All Work Related Requirements group when claiming Universal Credit. Our aim is to encourage them to get into as much work as they reasonably can do as quickly as possible. Advisers will take account of individual circumstances and set requirements that, if complied with, give the claimant the best possible prospects of finding paid work.

The Claimant Commitment is at the heart of this personalised approach. Compliance with requirements such as active job search and engagement with advisers, increases the chances that claimants find work more quickly than they would otherwise, but too often in the current system there is a lack of clarity about requirements and consequences. The Claimant Commitment will address this, for the first time setting out all requirements and consequences in one place – ensuring claimants understand what is required.

One of the main differences between current JSA and Universal Credit conditionality is that claimants in the All Work Related Requirements group have a responsibility to look for and find work. Claimants should treat this responsibility as their “job” and our intention is that claimants should aim to spend as many hours looking for work as we would expect them to spend in work - for the All Work Related Requirements group this has been set at 35 hours per week. These more robust requirements will be supported by a new sanctions framework under Universal Credit.

However, as I have explained, the JSA Claimant Commitment will be underpinned by JSA and not Universal Credit legislation and as such will not have the same powers as for those claiming Universal Credit. Current JSA conditionality will continue to be applied and the Claimant Commitment will be a tool which facilitates a culture change and a more robust approach to diagnosing claimants circumstances and setting appropriate work related requirements, which will provide the best chance of finding work.

Kind Regards ... DWP Communications"


IAD, No Idea

Update: (28 Aug 2013)

Universal Jobmatch: Your rights

“JSA Work Programme (WP) participants

90. You must not mandate JSA WP participants to create a profile and public CV in Universal Jobmatch.”https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/174251/response/424013/attach/html/3/WDTK%204024.pdf.html

Update: (22 Aug 2013) The DWP suggested the only mandatory place a Universal Jobmatch account could be created then used was on a Jobcentre Internet Access Device (IAD/Computer). However the quote below contradicts this outright:

“A3. Claimants will not be mandated to use IADs available in Jobcentre Plus offices and will, therefore, not be sanctioned if they refuse to use them. Use of IADs by claimants is voluntary.” https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/173127/response/422728/attach/html/3/FOI3884%20Gazz%20WDTK%20Reply.pdf.html

Note: Clarification is being sort on above, here and here.

Do not tick the boxes below, when you create a Universal Jobmatch account. Use can be made mandatory via a Jobseeker’s Direction ..."



Thursday, 29 August 2013

Alrighty DWP, Set Me Free (Part 1)

Last week, I signed on, in the new 'end of the room' room, well-away from the vanilla signers. Briefly, for now, I will just say, that I have 'recently' (July, as I recall) come to the fruitless end, of my two years with A4e (more to follow, on that, later). I had told JCP, at the last few signings, that it had terminated and, in fact, that I had been parked, for some time, but nothing was done, until last Friday.

I told them, on that day, once again, and the 'adviser' jumped up to see his manager and returned, reminding me, of my Post-Work Programme Interview (PWPI?), dated, today. Of course, I had not been informed, before, or in writing (still have not been), so I nodded, kindly, and arrived today, for the new era.

For reasons which may be described, later, I have been out-of-the-loop, on employment niceties, recently, so, for now, I just wanted to recreate this piece, in its entirety (I hope the author does not mind; I will inform Andrew), so that the full background, to this series, here, is clear.

Here goes nothing (I predict)

The Unemployed and the 35 Hours a Week Job Search  

August 24, 2013 Andrew Coates

"Boycott Workfare said in July,

"The government appears to have abandoned their previous plans for compulsory 6 month workfare placements for everyone finishing the 2 years on the Work Programme. There was no mention of it when they announced their post-Work Programme plans yesterday, which is a victory for all anti-workfare campaigns. By us all putting pressure on workfare providers there are no longer enough companies and charities who are willing to be involved to make such a huge scheme possible."

This was the government’s plan.

Work Programme leavers targeted by specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.

Gov UK Press Release. 3rd June.

Work Programme leavers will be targeted by a hit squad of specialist advisers as part of a tough approach to get them into a job.

Up to 5 specialist advisers will be based in individual Jobcentres dedicated to working with people not in sustained work after 2 years on the Work Programme.

Claimants will be given an end-of-term report from their Work Programme provider assessing what progress they have made and their ongoing needs, to inform their new adviser before facing the toughest Jobcentre regime to help them find work. At their first appointment they will have to agree a binding back-to-work plan laying out what they are required to do.

Minister for Employment Mark Hoban said:

"The Work Programme is getting some of the hardest to help claimants into work despite a tough economic climate.

We always knew that there would be some who would require further support after the Work Programme, which is why we’re introducing this intensive and uncompromising regime.

We’ll be stepping up the pressure on claimants, who will be expected to attend the Jobcentre more frequently, with rigorous monitoring to ensure they are doing everything they can to find work."

Claimants will be expected to be on a training scheme, Mandatory Work Activity placement or intensive work preparation within days of finishing on the Work Programme – losing their benefit if they fail to comply. An extra £30m will be available to pay for extra training and specialist help to prepare them for work, for instance counselling for people dependent on drug and alcohol.

Claimants will also have to attend the Jobcentre far more frequently than other jobseekers, with weekly signing on being routine and some people being required to meet their adviser every day.

Every Work Programme returner will also be required to register with Universal Jobmatch to aid work search and job matching. This will allow their adviser to check their work search activity online should the claimant give permission.

The tough sanctions regime will see anyone failing to comply with mandatory activity lose benefit for 4 weeks for a first failure, with penalties of up to 3 years for serial offenders.

The intensive support will last for 6 months, and will be used for all Jobseeker’s Allowance claimants returning from the Work Programme who need more intensive support.

What We are Concerned about

Universal Credit will be based on four ‘work-related’ criteria for unemployed claimants.

What are the work-related requirements?

There are four work-related requirements (From Citizen’s Advice):

>the work-focused interview requirement
>the work preparation requirement
>the work search requirement
>the work availability requirement.

Your claimant commitment may include one or more of these requirements, depending on your circumstances. You will be told at your interview which requirements you’ll be expected to meet.

If you have to meet the work search requirement, it means you have to take all reasonable steps to find paid work.

If you’re already working, it means you have to take all reasonable steps to find better paid work or work more hours.

You may have to do any of these things as part of your work search requirement:

>spend a certain amount of time looking for work
>apply for jobs
>create and maintain an online profile. For example, you may have to put details of your skills, qualifications and experience on a website such as Universal Jobmatch
>register with an employment agency
>get references.

Jobcentre Plus can also tell you to take specific steps to help you find work or to help you find more or better paid work, such as applying for a specific job. They can decide how long you must spend taking these steps.

If you’re required to apply for a specific job, you get an interview but you fail to take part in it, you won’t meet your work search requirement.

How much time do you have to spend looking for work?

You normally have to spend 35 hours a week doing the things in your work search requirement. Some people with caring responsibilities or who have a physical or mental disability don’t have to spend as long as this.

You must usually spend 35 hours a week looking for work. This time is known as your expected number of hours. The time you spend only counts if it gives you the best chances of getting work. If you use it in a way that doesn’t give you the best chances of getting work, it won’t count towards your expected number of hours.

Your expected number of hours may be less than 35 hours a week if you’ve got caring responsibilities or a physical or mental disability.

In some circumstances, you may not have to spend as long as your expected number of hours a week looking for work. This may apply to you if:

>you’ve got a physical or mental disability
>you’ve spent time doing paid work as well as looking for work
>you’ve spent time doing voluntary work as well as looking for work
>you’ve spent time meeting the work preparation requirement or doing voluntary work preparation
>a temporary change in your situation affects the time you can spend looking for work
>Jobcentre Plus is satisfied you’ve taken all reasonable action to get work, even though you’ve spent less than your expected number of hours doing this.

35 Hours a week doing what exactly?

What kind of sick joke is that?"


Now, although I had expected change, today, there was obviously much jiggery-pokery going on, as we 'agreed' my fresh JSAg - being 'assisted', by one of the Hit Squad and her manager, I presume?

I will describe how it went, next installment. By then, I will have seen, what special provisions (if any) they will be making, for one of their 'Locally Sensitive'.

Next signing 6/8/13.



Government announces details of post Work Programme support (GOV.uk)

New Regime

DWP minister Hoban gets JSA amount WRONG – and jobseeking unaffordable

AT LEAST 100k a year hit by highest-level benefit sanctions
Universal Credit/JSA Regulations


Monday, 24 June 2013

Best Society

“When I was a child, I thought,
Casually, that solitude
Never needed to be sought.
Something everybody had,
Like nakedness, it lay at hand,
Not specially right or specially wrong,
A plentiful and obvious thing
Not at all hard to understand.

Then, after twenty, it became
At once more difficult to get
And more desired -- though all the same
More undesirable; for what
You are alone has, to achieve
The rank of fact, to be expressed
In terms of others, or it's just
A compensating make-believe.

Much better stay in company!
To love you must have someone else,
Giving requires a legatee,
Good neighbours need whole parishfuls
Of folk to do it on -- in short,
Our virtues are all social; if,
Deprived of solitude, you chafe,
It's clear you're not the virtuous sort.

Viciously, then, I lock my door.
The gas-fire breathes. The wind outside
Ushers in evening rain. Once more
Uncontradicting solitude
Supports me on its giant palm;
And like a sea-anemone
Or simple snail, there cautiously
Unfolds, emerges, what I am."

Philip Larkin, 1922-1985


Monday, 27 May 2013

My Jailor And My Liberator

Top judge Alan Goldsack QC who is retiring at the end of May
pictured in his chambers at Sheffield Crown Court 21 May 2013

‘Remove children from criminal families’, says Sheffield judge



Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Read It And Weep 9

*****RIAW 8, here: RIAW 7, here: RIAW 6, here: RIAW 5, here: RIAW 4, here:
RIAW 3, here: RIAW 2, here: RIAW 1, here.*****


Forced Labour (WP/WF/WCA), Welfare, Entitlements and General


Benefit cap 'will encourage people to work'

Benefits cap trial defended by minister
New blitz on benefit cheats: Worst offenders will lose payouts for up to THREE years

Welfare Cuts 'Will Widen North-South Divide'

PCS Union opposes conditionality and sanctions targets

PCS opposes conditionality and sanctions targets
Homebase criticised over work experience claims
TUC analysis highlights reality of unemployment in north east and Cumbria

KARL MCCARTNEY: We are on the side of people who work hard in this country

Government blackmails unemployed into making hopeless job applications

East Ham Labour MP Stephen Timms on why Newham are having another jobs fair
Barclaycard offer Work Pairings programme

Sheffield’s jobless shooting for success at A4e job fair

Need your grass cut? Contact Dervock Community Association

Back to Work scheme praised by new Hotel Cristina employee
Welfare reforms could lead to large increase in Mansfield rent arrears

Duncan Smith defiant as disabled benefit changes bite
More than 30 find work with logistics firm
Employment Consultant - Recruitment Consultant, Work Programme, Welfar

Disputing a decision - Universal Credit, PIP, contributory ESA, contribution-based JSA (CAB)

Children Living in Poverty Are Facing a Perfect Storm

Liars of the Left - Angry IDS shreds Labour ‘dishonesty’ over welfare

The Welfare Mission

Labour outlines plan to tie benefits to contribution 
Harriet Harman: people feel 'resentful' of benefit claimants 'not pulling their weight'

Working parents exasperated over large families on benefits, says Harman
Simon Danczuk MP: 'We can’t ignore the tragedy of people’s potential going to waste'

George Osborne: I'm in tune with country on welfare
Troubled families: 'You need to do something bad before you get support'

Labour reconsiders welfare position

Vulnerable Work Programme customers need greater protection, finds new report (CESI)

Work Programme in London (LVSC)

Work Programme evaluation released
Crazy situation where you earn more on benefits than you do at work ends NOW

'Welfare reforms are evil,' warns Welsh charity boss 
Giving the game away 
Why Conservative benefit cuts won't get Britain working

Powers target the ‘cynical minority’

Peering into the black box: innovation and the Work Programme

Work Programme Customer Service Advisor

What about A4e?
George Osborne sparks benefits storm over Mick Philpott Derby house fire
Don't get mad about the Mail's use of the Philpotts to tarnish the poor – get even

Who cares?

A4e helped me get my life back 


Universal Credit


Working universal credit recipients may be forced to move job to work more hours 
Universal credit free prescription trial downsized
New universal credit system presents the challenge of budgeting
Universal Credit's ‘digital by default’ ditched

Mobile rent payments could help landlords curb arrears under Universal Credit

DWP hires Olympics construction director to head up Universal Credit

Universal Credit test launch delayed

Universal Credit award

CLG Select Committee express concern over Universal Credit scheme

Response to CLG Committee report on Universal Credit
Government pledges £400k universal credit IT cash 
MPs concerned about Universal Credit fraud risk

Universal Credit – An Overview 

Britain's New Tax Reporting System Draws Criticism
Benefits reform trial defended

DWP continues to scope Universal Credit budgeting product

Universal credit
What is Universal Credit?

Universal Credit Pathfinders delayed

Tax changes to wipe out Christmas bonuses 
Universal Credit: Hardly universal, and no credit to anybody

Will Universal Credit be a change for the better? Editor's Eye comment
Universal Credit


Universal Jobmatch


Are Cookies Strictly Necessary For User On Universal Jobmatch (FOIR)

Request To The Information Commissioner's Office, Regarding Universal Jobmatch Privacy Issues (FOIR)

Universal Jobmatch and the 35 hour per week 35 hours per week undertaking Work Search and Preparation? (FOIR)

The experiences of one jobseeker in using Universal Jobmatch – a worrying sign for Universal Credit?

Universal Jobmatch registration requirement at Ashton-under-Lyne (FOIR)  


Thursday, 28 March 2013

Recreated, In Full, For Later Reference

Identifying and Dealing with "Child Savers"*

Thomas D. Oellerich*

ABSTRACT: Child sexual abuse is immoral and should be condemned. However, equally immoral is the activity perpetrated by "child savers." These are professionals who, in their zeal to protect alleged child and adult victims of child sexual abuse, adversely impact the lives of individuals and families. The primary purpose of this paper is to provide a set of indicators which should alert practitioners that they are in the presence of these professionals. A second purpose is to recommend alternative ways for social workers and the profession to deal with child savers.

The recent allegations of sexual abuse in Wenatchee, Washington suggest that the zealotry that marked such cases as the McMartin Preschool in Manhattan Beach, California, the Wee Care Day Care Center in New Jersey, the Little Rascals Day Care Center in North Carolina, and Faith Chapel in San Diego persists. These cases represent a twentieth-century witch hunt. Child sexual abuse is immoral and illegal. Some children need protection. But, as indicated by these and other cases (Nathan & Snedeker, 1995), they and their families need protection as well from present day "child savers" (Wexler, 1995). These are the descendants of the child saving and child rescue movements of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Costin, 1985; Wexler, 1995). They are the professionals-social workers, therapists, physicians, law enforcement personnel, prosecutors-who, in their zeal to protect children, instead harm them and devastate the lives of families (Freyd, et al., 1993; Tavris, 1993; Wexler, 1995; & the newsletters of the FMS Foundation).

The purpose of this paper is twofold: 1) to identify those indicators that should lead one to suspect a professional is a child saver, and, 2) to make recommendations to social work practitioners and the profession to deal with this category of professionals.

The Indicators for Child Savers

A review of the literature suggests that child savers manifest certain beliefs concerning the problem of child sexual abuse. These beliefs, in turn, can serve as indicators for suspecting a professional may be a child saver.

The Proselytizer

The first indicator that a professional may be a child saver is when he or she becomes a proselytizer. This professional spreads the gospel of satanic ritual abuse, despite the absence of corroborative evidence for such allegations. Lanning (1991) reported that, despite intensive investigations over an eight-year period, law enforcement officials had found no credible evidence supporting allegations of ritual abuse. A five-year governmentally-funded study, conducted by Goodman, Qin, Bottoms, and Shaver (1994), concluded that hard evidence for satanic ritual abuse "was scant to nonexistent" (p. 6). And, more recently, Bottoms and Davis (1997) observed that there never were highly organized satanic ritual abuse cults in this country. They based this conclusion on their own surveys, the fact that the police and FBI agents have never found evidence of satanic ritual abuse, and the discrediting of and the recantations by alleged victims.

But the child savers firmly believe the claims of ritualistic abuse and continue to promulgate this notion (Goodman et al., 1994; Bottoms & Davis, 1997; Bottoms, Shaver, & Goodman, 1996). They reject reports as biased that do not corroborate the existence of satanic ritual abuse. The evidence, however, confirms the conclusion of the San Diego Grand Jury (1992, June), which investigated that county's child protective system and concluded that:

the existence of satanic ritual abuse is a contemporary myth perpetuated by a small number of social workers, therapists, and law enforcement members who ... cannot be dissuaded by a lack of physical evidence (p. 18).

This contemporary myth is far from benign. As Bottoms and Davis (1997) point out, those who become involved with these professionals may live the rest of their lives with a false, painful belief. And they may act on this belief with untold harm to innocent individuals. These are often parents who are subjected to misguided lawsuits and imprisonment for crimes they did not commit.

The Validator

Second, child savers are those professional interveners who should remain objective but do not. They act as validators (Gardner, 1991). These professionals have as their purpose to "validate" even the most bizarre of allegations. The investigation of the Alicia Wade case by the San Diego Grand Jury (1992, June) revealed that county's child protective system to be inherently biased and unable to detect or correct its errors. In this system, social workers, therapists, investigators, and prosecutors operated on the presumption that an allegation of child sexual abuse meant that the abuse had in fact occurred. Evidence to the contrary was routinely ignored.

Indeed, the Grand Jury (1992, February) reported that some social workers may well have committed perjury in order to gain convictions. Lorandos (1995) also reports social workers withholding or falsifying information in civil proceedings in order to secure a judgment they deemed "in the best interests of the child."

The Exaggerator

Third, child savers are those professionals who disseminate exaggerated claims of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in this country. For example, they refer to the work of Russell (1983) or Wyatt (1985). Russell reported that more than half (54%) of all women experienced some form of intra- and extrafamilial sexual abuse prior to age 18; Wyatt, that more than three-fifths (62%) of women had. As noted by Okami (1990), these prevalence rates far exceed the rates reported in virtually all other major studies.

These high rates, according to Okami, are the result of using moral and political criteria to define abuse. In this context, Okami points out that Russell's study was severely compromised by her selection and training of her interviewers. Moreover, both studies dismissed self-reports of inconsequential or of loving, noncoercive adult/nonadult sexual interactions as invalid interpretations of their experiences.

In point of fact, the actual prevalence of child sexual abuse is not known. Reports of prevalence from different surveys range from 6% to 62% for females and from 3% to 30% for males (Geffner, 1992; Peters, Wyatt, & Finkelhor, 1986). Such a range of numbers hardly instills confidence about what is really known about the prevalence of child sexual abuse.

Estimates of the prevalence of child sexual abuse are complicated by variations in the definitions of sexual abuse, as Levitt and Pinnell (1995) note in their review of the literature. Definitions vary with respect to the types of behavior that is to be included, the age differences between those involved, and the presence or absence of coercion and/or force (Browne & Finkelhor, 1986). Thus, some studies define sexual abuse as including everything from exhibitionism to rape to incestuous intercourse. Others use more narrow criteria. As a result, Levitt and Pinnell conclude that it is impossible to determine the true prevalence of child sexual abuse.

In a similar fashion, the child savers prefer referring to the numbers of reported cases of child sexual abuse. They ignore the fact that considerably less than half of reported cases are substantiated (Lorandos & Campbell, 1995).

Additionally, child savers claim that the increased rate of reported cases reflects a real increase in prevalence. Thus, they assert there is an epidemic of child sexual abuse (Loftus & Ketcham, 1994). But the evidence does not support this claim. Feldman, et al. (1991) compared data obtained in the 1970s and 1980s with data from the 1940s and found that the prevalence rates were similar. Kilpatrick (1992), in her study of 501 women from Florida and Georgia, found, when her data were analyzed by different age groups, a definite trend toward decreasing sexual activity among those 14 and under over the past 60 years, while the trend for adolescents had remained constant over that same period of time.

The child savers, however, prefer the larger numbers, as these provide them with what Gilbert (1991) refers to as "advocacy numbers" as opposed to legitimate numbers. Advocacy numbers are figures that are used to persuade public opinion that a problem is significantly greater than is generally recognized, rather than attempting to foster scientific understanding.

The Trauma Ideologist

Fourth, child savers are purveyors of what Schultz (1980) refers to as trauma ideology. Trauma ideologists regard every incident of sexual abuse as inevitably psychologically harmful, even devastating (Cole, 1982). That sexual contacts of a minor with an adult might be experienced without harm or even positively, is, to the child savers, heresy. For example, Kilpatrick (1992) concluded that early child and adolescent sexual experiences, unless there was force or high pressure involved, had no influence on later adult functioning regardless of the type of partner involved (i.e., relative or non-relative) or the age differences. She reported that, when she discussed her findings with professionals, they closed their ears to them. They were most closed to those findings that indicated positive reactions to these early sexual experiences and to those findings that indicated that incestuous experiences did not cause irreparable harm (p. xviii).

The evidence suggests that, although child sexual abuse is potentially psychologically damaging, this is not always the case. A review of 45 studies by Kendall-Tackett, Williams, and Finkelhor (1993) concludes that up to 49% of the sexually abused children suffered no psychological harm. Thus, Kendall-Tackett, et al. concluded that a lack of symptoms could not be used to rule out sexual abuse since "there are too many sexually abused children who are apparently asymptomatic" (p. 175).

Among those with psychological harm, Kendall-Tackett, et al. report that some become worse. However, the majority of studies in this review indicated that, when the sexually abused children in treatment were compared with nonabused children in treatment, the sexually abused were less symptomatic than their nonabused clinical counterparts. In addition, the majority of those showing psychological harm improved markedly within 12 to 18 months with or without treatment.

In an earlier review of 28 studies, Browne and Finkelhor (1986) concluded that, when studied as adults, less than 20% of those who had been sexually abused as children had serious psychopathology as adults. Browne and Finkelhor observed that these findings should provide comfort to victims since severe long-term effects were not inevitable. They note with concern the efforts of child advocates to exaggerate the harmful effects for political purposes because of its potential to harm the victims and their families.

That the claims of harm are exaggerated and, indeed, may well be inaccurate is substantiated in a landmark study by Rind and Tromovitch (1997). These researchers noted that most of the prior reviews had drawn upon clinical and legal samples, which are not representative of the general population. They conducted a meta-analysis of seven studies that used national probability samples, which are more appropriate for making population relevant inferences. The studies included four from the United States, and one each from Great Britain, Canada, and Spain. Their findings indicated that harm from child sexual abuse is not pervasive among those who experienced early sexual experiences. Further, the harm, when it occurs, is not serious.

These findings confirm the earlier findings of Kinsey and his associates (1953) who found that, among those participants (24%) who had had sexual contact with adults in their childhood, 80% recalled being emotionally upset by these contacts. However, in all but a few cases, the negative effect was "nearer the level that children will show when they see insects, spiders, or other objects against which they have been adversely conditioned" (p. 121).

Moreover, Rind and Tromovitch's meta-analysis supports the view that the behaviors and attitudes exhibited by the sexually abused are unlikely to be the effects of the sexual abuse. They may be the result, instead, of preexisting problems, or even of professional and community intervention, as earlier reported by Constantine (1981).

Further, there is no sound research supporting the stereotypical linkage of child sexual abuse and later adult psychopathology. Existing research in this regard is so seriously methodologically flawed that it is virtually valueless, according to Pope and Hudson (1995). A similar conclusion was arrived at by staff of the False Memory Foundation (Staff, 1996, September) who, with the help of members of the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Committee, analyzed the research in this area. They identified the assumption that childhood sexual abuse results in the development of psychiatric disorders in adulthood as a leading candidate to join the ranks of other mental health myths. They noted that

to question the pathogenic effects of childhood sexual abuse is often considered heretical-just as it would have been scandalous, a generation ago, to question whether bad mothering could turn children into schizophrenics (p. 3).

It is, in fact, far from proven that childhood sexual abuse has any significant influence upon the adult personality. As noted by Seligman (1994), adults are not prisoners of their past, even a past marked by childhood trauma.

That child sexual abuse may not be harmful is not to condone it or to suggest that it should not be considered either immoral or illegal or both. Conte (1985) has pointed out that decisions concerning the appropriateness of adult/nonadult sexual interactions involve ethical, legal, and religious principles. By way of example, robbery is unlawful not because it results in psychological harm but because society has decided that people have a right to their own property. Put another way, the question of the effects of child sexual abuse should not be confused with the moral and/or legal issue of dealing with this behavior.

The Therapy Marketeer

The final indicator suggesting a professional may be a child saver is when the professional acts as a therapy marketeer, exaggerating the need for therapy for the victims of sexual abuse. From 44% to 73% of victims are likely to receive some form of psychotherapy (Finkelhor & Berliner, 1995; Miller, Cohen, & Wiersema, 1996). This, of course, is in line with a belief in the trauma ideology.

Many children, however, are referred to therapy who do not need to be. The fact that significant numbers of the sexually abused are not psychologically harmed and those who are improve within a year or two without any treatment attests to the minimal need, if any, for therapy. Thus, the concern expressed by the San Diego Grand Jury (1992, February) that referrals to therapists were simply "feeding another subindustry of the System" (p. 37) is well founded. The approach of the psychotherapeutic community to child sexual abuse reflects a mental health industry searching for a new disease which offers it new opportunities for economic growth (Costin, Karger, & Stoesz 1996).

Further, there is no sound research evidence indicating that therapy for the sexually abused is effective (Berliner, 1995; Berliner & Elliott, 1996; Reid, 1996). Holenberg and Ragan (1991) reported in their synthesis of selected research projects funded by the National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect that most of the information on treatment efficacy was based on anecdotal case studies or descriptions of treatment programs.

Most treatment programs are either atheoretical or based on untested theoretical assumptions (Friedrich, 1996). And this is to the everlasting harm of some (Campbell, 1994). For example, in the Alicia Wade case, it was as a result of her therapist's brainwashing in over of year of so-called therapy involving twice weekly visits that Alicia finally "disclosed" that her father had raped her (San Diego Grand Jury, 1992, June 23). In fact, as Alicia had previously maintained, she had been raped by a stranger — and it turned out he was a serial rapist!

Lest this be seen as idiosyncratic, a recently completed evaluation of repressed memory claims with the State of Washington's Crime Victims Compensation Program (Loftus, 1997; Parr, 1996) clearly indicates the potential for the harm that can be inflicted by therapy. Some therapists believe that childhood sexual abuse is a central experience in the lives of their clients (Campbell, 1994). They contend that the trauma of child sexual abuse motivates the patients to repress this experience. Given the centrality of this experience, these therapists assume it is necessary for their patients to recover previously repressed memories of their sexual abuse if they are to heal.

But quite the opposite can occur, as indicated by Parr's (1996) study. She reported that patients involved in repressed memory therapy displayed

an unusually high rate of mental and emotional problems which manifest during therapy and are proliferated as therapy continues. Repressed memory patients tend to be in therapy significantly longer than other mental health clients but with little improvement in their conditions even after years of therapy. Indeed, it appears that the longer the patient is [in] treatment, the more disabled s(he) will become. Of significant concern is that over the course of time, repressed memory patients often become isolated from their families and communities, suffer employment and financial losses and demonstrate devastating mental problems which diminishes their capacity to form or maintain meaningful relationships or enjoy life (Parr, pp. 1-2).

Moreover, anecdotal case studies show that therapists have implanted memories of childhood sexual abuse that never occurred (Loftus & Ketcham, 1994; Ofshe & Watters, 1994; the newsletters of the FMS Foundation).

Additionally, there is growing evidence that the recent epidemic of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is an artifact of therapy. It is a therapist induced disorder rather than an effect of child sexual abuse (McHugh, 1993; Ofshe & Watters, 1994; Sarbin, 1997). Parr (1996) reported that the primary diagnosis in most repressed memory claims to the Crime Victims Compensation Program was MPD and that it was not unusual for the claimant to have dozens or even hundreds of personalities — one claim involved over 700 alter states and another over 3000. Parr's findings buttress the conclusion of Ofshe and Watters:

Examining the fad diagnosis of MPD, the cruelty of recovered memory therapy becomes particularly clear. Thousands of clients have learned to display the often-debilitating symptoms of a disorder that they never had. They become less capable of living normal lives, more dependent on therapy, and inevitably more troubled (p. 223).

Lastly, there is no evidence that reliving the abuse experience has any positive effects. Seligman (1994) notes that, although catharsis has a long history as a therapeutic technique, there is no evidence that it works. He adds that efforts by parents and well-meaning therapists and courts of law often magnify the trauma in the child's mind by repeatedly tearing off the protective scar tissue of the wound. Thus, these well-intentioned people are actually interfering with the natural healing process.


In brief, child savers are those professionals who purport to protect victims of child sexual abuse but who instead harm them and devastate the lives of families. They have certain beliefs which are red flags for identifying them: 1) a proselytizer who spreads the false gospel of satanic ritual abuse; 2) a validator who confirms uncorroborated allegations of sexual abuse no matter how bizarre; 3) an exaggerator or user of advocacy numbers; 4) a trauma ideologist; and 5) a therapy marketeer.


How should social workers and the profession protect the community from the harm caused by child saving and how should these perpetrators be dealt with? Nathan and Snedeker (1995) note that "the demonization of child sexual abuse as society's ultimate evil has rendered it so holy as to be virtually immune to reasoned analysis" (p. 252). It is this atmosphere of hysteria which breeds and sustains the child saver. Social workers and the profession can and must do a number of things to minimize, if not eliminate, this atmosphere of hysteria and mitigate the impact of the child savers. These include:

1. Social workers and the profession need to rid themselves of the socio-political and legalistic biases contained in the use of such terms as "victims" and "perpetrators." As recommended by Nelson and Meller (1994), until damage has been established, such terms as "participant" or "partner" would be better to use.

Further, professionals should reserve the use of condemnatory terms to those situations where damage is clearly established. Nelson and Meller recommended that the terms, "molestation" and "rape," should be used only when it has been determined that coercion was indeed present. To define experiences as abusive which are described by the allegedly abused as loving, caring, or noncoercive is a contradiction in terms (Okami, 1994). Hence, the term, "abuse," should be replaced by such terms as "experience" or "incident" until it is determined that the episode was, in fact, harmful.

2. Kilpatrick (1992) noted there is an assumption that children who have sexual experiences with or propositions from persons who are 5 or more years older than they, "are automatically victimized, and harm is done" (p. 115). This notion is derived from what Okami (1994) referred to as the sex-political principle. This principle assumes that the differential degrees of social power accorded older persons and younger persons automatically define any sexual contact between such persons as abusive. Kilpatrick's findings repudiate this assumption. She found that the relative age of the woman's partner in her early sexual experience(s) was not related to her adult functioning. Accordingly, practitioners should not assume an abusive situation until it has been established the situation entailed coercion and/or was in fact harmful.

3. Social work practitioners and the profession must educate the community and, most especially, the courts about the myths that surround the problem of child sexual abuse. It is these myths that fuel the hysteria surrounding considerations of childhood sexuality (Okami, 1994). First, professionals need to rebut the myth that early sexual experiences are necessarily and inevitably psychologically harmful. It is not the function of professionals or the profession to provide a psychological justification for the fact that such experiences are and/or should be illegal and/or immoral. This is a lesson that mental health professionals should have learned from the controversy over homosexuality.

Next, the profession and professionals must inform the community that therapy is most often unnecessary and is contraindicated in most cases of early sexual experiences. Indeed, professionals must make the community aware that therapy is potentially harmful and that it may well interfere with the natural healing processes. Seligman (1994), in writing of his early experiences with what today would be labeled child sexual abuse, asserted these experiences had no negative impact on his later psychological adjustment. He attributed this to his having been spared the overreaction of parents and police, and early therapeutic intervention to undo his "denial," and later therapeutic intervention to recover his "repressed" memory and then reliving the experience to heal his current problems. Parents and the community should be advised to follow Seligman's recommendation "to turn the volume down as soon as possible" (p. 235).

4. Tavris (1993) denounced the "incest-survivor machine" as a multi-million dollar industry built around the concept of child sexual abuse. The average cost associated with repressed memory claims in the state of Washington's Crime Victims Compensation Program was approximately four times the average claim in other mental health claims (Parr, 1996). The average cost of nonrepressed memory claim was less than $3,000; that of repressed memory claims, more than $12,000, with one claim exceeding $50,000. In just over four years, the citizens of Washington paid out over 2.5 million dollars for 325 repressed memory claims. Most of the diagnoses in this program involved MPD.

Parr's study confirms Piper's (1994) contention that psychotherapy for this condition is far from being cost effective. It is, however, highly lucrative for the therapists. In a similar vein, a recent report of the National Institute of Justice found that up to 50% and more of the child sexual abuse victims receive mental health care at an average cost of $5,800 (Miller, et al., 1996). This contrasts with a usage rate of no more than 4% for victims of other crimes with an average cost of less than $100.

Given the absence of sound research evidence demonstrating the efficacy of therapy and its potential for harm, the profession and practitioners should support private health insurance companies and government health care programs to follow the lead of the state of Washington and not reimburse for any treatments deemed experimental, such as those aimed at the recovery of memories of sexual abuse (Staff, 1997 March; 1997 April).

Or, at the very least, as recommended by Parr (1996), treatment should follow managed care restrictions for short-term, limited intervention. Thus, the financial incentives of therapists to operate what Campbell (1994) refers to as "rent-a-friend" agencies with long-term leases will be undermined. These serve the therapists' interests but not those of their clients.

5. The profession and practitioners must work toward the passage of informed consent laws in the provision of psychotherapy. Indiana is the first state to pass such legislation (Freyd, 1997, June). Given the harm that can occur as a result of treatment, patients have an ethical right and must have a legal right to be informed of the risks as well as the potential benefits of therapy. The risks include suicidal ideation, self-mutilation, and mental decompensation necessitating inpatient hospitalization (Ofshe & Watters, 1994; Parr, 1996). With this information, prospective patients can make an informed decision as to whether to subject themselves or their children to the risks associated with treatment.

Additionally, the patient's spouse or partner, and other family members need also to be advised of the side effects of therapy. They need to be prepared for the new and often bizarre behavior that the patient may exhibit. They need to know how they are to cope with these changes.

6. In light of the harm that can and does occur to patients, social work practitioners must act to support patients in their efforts to sue their therapists. Practitioners need to have available a list of attorneys to whom they can refer their clients to pursue such lawsuits.

Successful lawsuits have been brought against therapists. For example, most recently, Patricia Burgus won an out-of-court settlement of $10.6 million against the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital, and Drs. Poznanski and Braun for having implanted false memories of sexual abuse (Belluck, 1997). Earlier, the Wade family lawsuit against San Diego County and the professionals who brought about their tragedy was settled for $3.7 (Hagen, 1997). Two former patients of Dr. Diane Humenansky in Minnesota won multimillion dollar judgments against her for implanting false memories of sexual abuse (Staff, 1996, March). A San Diego jury ordered Dr. Virginia Humphrey to pay $1.9 million in a malpractice suit brought by a father on behalf of his minor daughter who had been misdiagnosed as having been sexually abused (Staff, 1996, October). This led the child to bring allegations of sexual abuse against her father. And, also in San Diego, church day care volunteer, Dale Akiki, acquitted of charges of ritual abuse, settled out-of-court for an estimated $800,000 (Nathan & Snedeker, 1995).

7. Social workers and the profession must also support efforts to pass legislation to allow lawsuits by third parties. Third parties can suffer considerable psychological harm at the hands of therapists who practice scientifically unproven and dangerous therapy or who negligently administer traditional therapy. Recently, two state appellate courts ruled that therapists owe a duty to the person that their patient falsely accuses of sexual abuse as a result of the therapist's misdiagnosis (Staff, 1998, May).

8. The profession should seek passage of legislation to assure that therapists who abuse their clients are subject to criminal prosecution and the same penalties as is any "perpetrator" of abuse.

9. The profession should establish as a standard of practice that those who have a history of having been sexually abused should not practice in the area of sexual abuse. As pointed out by Gardner (1991), many professionals are attracted to the field because they themselves were molested. And many then become validators. This was underscored by Kenneth Lanning, the FBI expert, who noted that these professionals often have a hidden agenda, which is to recruit the children they question "to the brotherhood and sisterhood of the sexually abused" (as quoted in Wexler, 1995, p. 157).

10. Social workers and the profession must seek the passage of legislation which denies absolute immunity to sexual abuse investigators who conduct an incompetent investigation. Most especially, validators must be denied absolute immunity.

11. Those professionals who falsify information or perjure themselves must be subject to criminal prosecution. A first step in this direction was taken in Texas. Here a federal grand jury handed down criminal indictments against two psychiatrists, a psychologist, a social worker, and a hospital administrator for fraud related to the practice of memory techniques (Freyd, 1997, December).


In conclusion, child sexual abuse is both immoral and illegal and should be condemned. But there is another form of abuse-this is the abuse perpetrated by the child savers. This abuse devastates the lives of individuals and families. It too must be condemned.


* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Conference of the National Association of Social Workers, Cleveland, Ohio, November 14, 1996.

Thomas D. Oellerich is Associate Professor, Department of Social Work, at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, 45701-9601 (oelleric@ohiou.edu).


Excerpt from "Identifying and Dealing with 'Child Savers'", Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, vol. 10, 1998, pp. 1-5, 7.


Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman: Politically Incorrect - Scientifically Correct