Social workers: a tale to make the blood boil

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Lucky_Jim, Jan 12, 2006.

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  1. Last night’s BBC1 programme ‘When Satan came to town’ told the story of twenty children on Langley council estate in Middleton, north Manchester.

    In 1990 they were taken from their homes (literally, snatched from their beds) in early morning raids by social services, who falsely believed they were being subjected to bizarre satanic rituals including the microwaving of foetuses, sacrificing of animals and the amputation of children’s fingers.

    This came about after one child, aged 5, who was withdrawn and exhibited behavioural problems, told his schoolteacher about dreams he had been having involving ghosts. He was referred to social workers, who interpreted this as a form of code, the ‘ghosts’ being a reference to hooded abusers. Thus started a huge investigation that became national news.

    (Some background: at that time there was a nationwide fascination with satanic abuse, with seminars being held up and down the country at which social workers were trained to spot the ‘indicators’. It did not take long for some to believe that they had become experts in identifying the signs of satanic abuse, and it was this self-delusion which caused them to pursue their convictions with such unhealthy zeal.)

    Despite a judge finding that there was no evidence whatsoever for any of the allegations, and that the parents had ‘neither the inclination nor the intellectual curiosity’ to take part in the alleged activities, two of the children – a brother and sister – ended up spending the next ten years in care. Parental contact was progressively cut to one hour a year. That’s not a mistype – one hour a year. Both are clearly damaged by the experience.

    I heard about this at the time, but there were few hard facts around because Rochdale council had obtained a gagging order which forbade the families to discuss the case with anyone except their solicitor – not their local councillor, not their MP, not anyone. Only now has the BBC succeeded in having the order lifted.

    With more facts brought into the open I found the full story truly shocking. The people involved were poor and uneducated, without the means or the tactics with which to fight the council. Think ‘Shameless’, but without the same degree of eloquence. Watching this programme left me incandescent with anger at the social workers and the council, which still refuses to give even an apology to the families involved. I couldn’t help wondering how many cases of genuine child abuse slipped through the net whilst the workers were pursuing their craze of satanic abuse; a craze which despite 70 separate investigations in the late 1980s and early 1990s revealed not one scrap of evidence anywhere in the country.

    This is a lesson in what happens when common sense is elbowed aside by self-appointed experts. One councillor, lone in his search for evidence, asked the police: ‘How many four-fingered kids have you seen knocking about?’ The answer was none, but the boring facts were no match for a trendy theory.

    Link to article in the Times online at:,,7-1977323,00.html

    A footnote for clarity: Langley estate is in Middleton, north Manchester, but in 1974 a reorganisation of local authorities placed it under the control of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council. The people of Langley, however, remain Mancunians and have never considered themselves a part of Rochdale. Newspapers take no notice of this.
  2. “I cannot see how the interests of today’s challenges of protecting children will be served by re-examining past cases that are 15 years old."

    Err, ummm, let me see...Ah yes of course so you don't do it again perhaps? That would be good for starters seeing as you have tried to hide this for the last umpteen years and the perpetrators have only just been named and are still working in this field. Yeah, I think it is worth looking at.
  3. This resembles the infamous McMartin preschool sexual abuse case here in America. Accusations of Satanism, sexual molestation, etc. All of the accused were eventually exonerated.

    McMartin Sexual Abuse Trials

    Who says memes don't travel? Where do people get these ideas?
  4. I saw it too. Made me feel physically sick. You're right - the outcome would have been somewhat different had the victims been educated. If the atrocities had even occurred in the first place, the criminals would have been gaoled. It was clear most of the kids werent very bright - and just to add to that burden now, most of them are damaged by that abuse to start.

    No-one can tell me that dawn raids, ritual de-lousing and gynacological examination of an eleven year old girl doesn't amount to abuse. These criminals (whether they did it out of malice, zeal or incompetence - the result was the same for the poor kids) need to lose their jobs, and be put on 'list 99.'
  5. I saw that last night and had to turn over as i was so appauled at what i was seeing.
  6. Also watched the program last night, and it reduced Mrs Biscuits to tears in parts. I've normally got the social conscience of a stray dog on a bowling green, but it boiled my piss watching what those social workers got up to. I'd have killed them after the trial if I'd been one of the parents, but apparently these disgusting sluts are still allowed to peddle their ridiculous ideas, and, incredibly, they still have the authority to repeat their mistakes.


    Temper under control (with difficulty) .
  7. There was an item on R5L yesterday about this. The McMartin case was specificaly mentioned as having a massive influence in this. It was never challenged at the time, I take it?

    There needs to be people brought to account for this.
  8. " ...a longstanding injunction that gagged them and prevented the media from identifying the two key social workers involved in the case, Jill France and Susan Hammersley. Both still work in child protection."

    If the case was so good why keep the identities secret. What have they got to hide?

    After such a screw up why are they still allowed to work with venerable people i.e. children?

    Will they be brought to account as to why they disregarded a court ruling and separated a family for 10 years on no evidence?
  9. In our collapsing state where the individual is constantly attacked by the Beauracracy? Will those criminals be brought to account? Will they fu$k. I know what I'd do if I was one of those parents though.
  10. I believe that, at the time, it was considered unlikely that children could lie about such things, either prompted by adults or unaided. That belief held for a long time, too.

    If I'm reading the stories correctly, one key difference is that the children in the American case were drawn into making increasingly outlandish accusations against the McMartins, in order to fulfill what they perceived as the investigators' desire for these stories. In the British story, it sounds like the Satanic abuse accusations were wholly made up by overzealous social workers! Even more bizarre.
  11. A few things struck me watching that programme yesterday:

    1. The social workers were zealots who refused to accept what the kids were telling them and just made it up as they went along breaking just about every rule they could break;

    2. They went about the investigation in spite of the fact that there was absolutely NO evidence to support the supposition of abuse;

    3. There were no checks or balances to stop the investigation mid-way through and evaluate whether it was in the interests of protecting the children to continue, so the excesses of the social workers went unhindered;

    4. The interrogations probably wouldn't have stood up to well against the Geneva Convention, let along to breaking down 6 year olds to say what the social workers wanted them to say (the image stuck with me of the 6 year old girl crying hysterically for her brother while the social worker kept telling her to be quiet - this went on for 17 minutes!)

    5. The police admitted to councillors who questioned the process of the investigation that they had not a single shred of evidence that abuse had taken place and the council didn't step in;

    6. That only the Director of SS resigned after the judge castigated them shows what an utter lack of integrity the department showed because all of the management should have fallen on their swords;

    7. Then came the most utterly vindictive and cruel twist of all: that the investigation turned up no evidence, was poorly conducted, was more abusive to the children than anything that was ever being done to them at home, was thrown out of court, two children were still kept in care for a further 9 years because their parents were "poor". Words fail me to express how utterly vindictive, spiteful, cruel, arrogant, high-handed, and vengeful this was. It struck me as akin to saying "well we couldn't prove anything and we were humilated, so we'll keep your kids from you just to exact our revenge".

    8. The parents were only allowed to see their children for an hour a year eventually because social workers decided that it was too upsetting for the children to be reminded that they had been torn from their homes without reason.

    No one can yet answer why it is that Jill France and Susan hammersly are not in prison for perjury for the way they presented the findings of their interviews, let alone the insult that is their keepnig their licenses as social workers AND working with children.

    My experience of social workers is that there are a significant number who are highly politically motivated left-wing activists hell-bent on taking forward their own personal agendas at the expense of "the system", while many other believe that rules and procedures do not apply to them because of their self-rightous belief that the ends justify the means. Some do sterling work, others are a liability to the public they supposedly serve. It seems to me these children were victimised because their parents were poor and not intelligent or educated enough to understand how to fight back and were actually prevented from seeking help from their MP or Councillors by court orders gained by the social workers on the basis of lies and falsifying evidence.
  12. Sadly ironic that recently the family of a young black Nigerian, tortured her and eventually beat her to death for being 'possessed' by the devil. Social Services did squat.
  13. Ahhh but thats because its a cultural thing, we wouldn't want anyone not to be able to celebrate our countries rich cultural diversity by stopping child abuse would we?
  14. That's because being Nigerian the SWs probably viewed it as "cultural" and noting their diversity training felt it would be institutionally racist to interviene in an expression of the family's cultural practices.

    Or it could just be that behind their politcal correctness they are a bunch of incompitants and they use the language of their PC to hide behind when it all goes t1ts.
  15. You are right, TY. In the Langley case nothing the children said lent any credence to the satanic abuse presumption (as it rapidly became). On the contrary, they repeatedly denied any suggestion that, for example, so-and-so had touched them in (to use a phrase I have come to cordially detest) an ‘inappropriate’ way.

    It was the social workers themselves who chose to ignore the children’s denials. Instead they focused on ways in which aspects of a child’s conversation, behaviour, or the pictures they drew could be interpreted as being indicative of satanic abuse. It is my belief that they wanted nothing more that to be proved right, and little things like truth, facts, or proper evidence weren’t going to get in the way of that. Watching the video footage of interviews with the children it was impossible to avoid thinking that here were people most definitely on a mission. Earlier Woopert described the interview technique, if you can call it that, very well.

    In the past I have done voluntary work with young people on this very estate, and I have got to know some of the people who live there quite well. During the course of this work I have come across examples of social services ineptness on a breathtaking scale, mostly because the case in question fell into the ‘too hard to do’ category. Or perhaps it's just not interesting enough, not like a juicy satanic abuse story.