Special Article: Adverse effects of hysteria

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Maintaining conditions of moral panic pertaining to children, sexuality and minor-attracted persons has many adverse consequences for society, especially minor children.

False Accusations: Worship of Satan, Blood Libel, "Recovered Memory"

This is a particularly insidious form of moral panic. NewsStand has a lot of articles on "Satanic Panic".

False Accusations: Botched Child Pornography investigations

Psychic Intervention

It is an unfortunate truth that in an area of life often ridden with superstition, coercive "recovery" of traumatic memories and iatrogenesis profiteers, psychic mediums have been allowed to gain ground.

"A psychic who called upon the dead to expose a paedophile who preyed on girls as young as nine today said: "Justice has been done." Using his mystic powers Patrick Hutchinson sensed a 20-year-old woman's demons from her childhood and helped her confront her abuser for the first time. After a five-and-a-half-day trial a Leeds Crown Court jury yesterday convicted her tormentor Terrance Dunstan, 61, of five charges of indecently assaulting three girls aged from nine to 11 between 1997 and 2001. CLICK PLAY TO SEE VIDEO OF TERRANCE DUNSTAN LEAVE LEEDS CROWN COURT YESTERDAY ON BAIL AHEAD OF SENTENCING."


"A Barrie mother of an autistic girl is considering legal action against her local school board after a psychic's prediction to a special educational assistant sparked a sexual abuse report to the Children's Aid Society. "I'm in shock," said Colleen Leduc, 38. "They reported me to Children's Aid because of a psychic. Can you imagine?" The damaging allegations were resolved by child welfare authorities relatively quickly, but the case highlights the difficult and sometimes clumsy outcome of zero-tolerance policies and mandatory reporting regulations regarding child sexual abuse."


Banning of Children

This can be seen in multiple news stories, e.g.

"Children could be barred from joining sports and hobby clubs because of the increasing burden of red tape, campaigners fear. Organisations which run activities for youngsters are already struggling to recruit volunteers because they must undergo criminal records checks. But when a new child protection database is introduced next year - which one in four adults will have to sign at a cost of £64 each - it is feared that many groups which admit members of all ages will decide it is cheaper and simpler to exclude children. Campaigners say this will leave teenagers unable to take part in activities which are good for their development, and makes a mockery of Government attempts to crack down on youth obesity and anti-social behaviour [...] "Some clubs have closed their doors to children, and that's a real shame."


Banning of Contact

"LIBRARY staff have been warned not to put children on their knees during story times for fear they will be branded paedophiles. Staff have also been told not to "lead a child by the hand" out of the library to look for a missing parent under a new policy introduced by education chiefs. As well as protecting employees from "vulnerable situations", the policy also warns librarians to keep an eye out for potential paedophiles and to ask adults acting suspiciously near a children's area or activity to move on or leave. Library staff will be told to refrain from physical contact where possible, even when they are trying to comfort a distressed or injured child."


"It's an everyday drama at primary schools up and down the country - but according to London teacher Kate Abley, a child wetting himself in the classroom is no longer a molehill, it's a mountain. "One male teacher refused to change children - he'd get other teachers to do it," says Abley. "Another teacher would call the child's mother to come in and deal with it." Those teachers who were prepared to change a child's wet pants were supposed to take another adult into the changing rooms, to keep an eye on them. "The whole thing was completely impractical." There's a growing panic among childcare professionals about touching young children in their care which, says a group of academics at Manchester Metropolitan University's Institute of Education, is causing concern and uncertainty about what's OK and what's not when it comes to innocent physical contact with youngsters. In research they are planning to publish later this year, academics Heather Piper, John Powell and Hannah Smith describe how some child carers are reluctant even to put a plaster on a child's scraped knee. Very young children have to treat their injuries themselves - with the nursery worker or teacher giving instructions on how to open the box, take out a plaster and stick it on. If a child's parent is nearby, he or she is summoned to deal with the injury. Piper describes it as a crazy situation. "Many people are behaving in completely ludicrous ways. What is cast into doubt is the process of normal nurturing - the way adults are with children." Comforting a child when they're upset, putting a plaster on them, changing their wet pants - all these everyday ways in which adults care for young children are now seen as suspect. "Children are used to being cared for by adults, being picked up and having somebody put their plasters on. If they go to places where adults don't touch them, this must be quite horrifying," says Piper - she cited the example from one playgroup in her research where there was "no touch that was caring at all"."