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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Queensland University of Technology 2202-8005 The International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy is an open access, blind peer reviewed journal that publishes critical research about challenges confronting criminal justice systems around the world. Committed to Open Access  and democratising quality knowledge production and dissemination. FREE TO DOWNLOAD AND FREE TO PUBLISH!  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 4 2

Dissecting Disbelief: Possible Reasons for the Denial of the Existence of Ritual Abuse in the United Kingdom

Abstract

When allegations of ritual abuse first came to light in the UK, they were met primarily with a ‘discourse of disbelief’ that left little room for the possibility accounts could be based in genuine experience. Despite convictions, recent criminological, sociological and psychological literature appears fixed on debunking ritual abuse’s existence through highly debated concepts such as ‘false memory’. This paper proposes three broad ‘reasons’ for the creation and maintenance of disbelief around ritual abuse, highlighting the importance of key cases in shaping press coverage of the issue during the 1980s and 1990s, and the role survivor advocates have played in distancing ritual abuse from established knowledge within both psychology and child protection. I argue that the tangibility of death and abject horror within survivor accounts, as well as the perceived religious motivations of perpetrators, make ritual abuse both experientially and conceptually alien to most members of late-modern societies.

 

Published:
Pages:77 to 93
Section: Articles

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