Added in 2010: Information for pedophiles
COSA Casualties Of Sexual Allegations Aims Objectives FAQ
NB: the information on this COSA information page is no longer current, and is retained for historical interest only
Many people contact us seeking information, advice or support about false sexual allegations. This information was written in response to the questions most often asked. We hope it will assist you in understanding the issues.
Photo: Dr Goodyear-Smith and Dr Greg Newbold meeting with members of COSA (Canterbury) in December 1998.
What is COSA?
COSA is the abbreviation for Casualties of Sexual Allegations Incorporated and is a voluntary, non-profit, education, research and community service organisation. COSA was established in 1994 and incorporated in 1995.
Why was COSA formed?
COSA was formed by a group of professionals and individuals concerned about, and in response to, the increasing number of false allegations of sexual abuse being made in New Zealand, which follow trends established in other countries. COSA is concerned to uphold the principles of science and justice to benefit the community.
COSA recognises that sexual abuse does occur and in no way condones or supports this offensive practice. Along with the problem of genuine sexual abuse, Western society is currently afflicted by a parallel problem of an increasing number of false allegations. This has serious and adverse effects on individuals, families, and the wider community. A major concern of COSA is to ensure that resources are directed to genuine cases, and not dissipated on invalid cases.
How is COSA governed?
COSA is incorporated under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 and is governed by an Executive Committee, supported by a Professional Advisory Board and specialist Sub-Committees.
How is COSA funded?
COSA is supported by the Lottery Grants Board and the JR McKenzie Trust Board. Funds are obtained from membership subscriptions, donations and private sources.
There are currently fully incorporated branches in Canterbury and Auckland, with provision for more as need arises. There is also a network of contact people and regional co-ordinators developing throughout the country. Contact names and phone numbers are published in the monthly newsletter.
Is COSA affiliated with other organisations?
Although COSA has no formal associations with other groups, we are in regular communications with a number of other national and international organisations, including the False Memory Syndrome organisations in the united States, Canada, Britain and Australia. Newsletters and other written material from these groups is available from COSA.
What are COSA’s aims?
COSA ‘s aims are to:
- foster and promote sound and reliable scientific knowledge concerning sexual abuse
- provide support for people involved in false allegations
- promote changes that will minimise the creation of wrongful accusations in the future.
What are COSA ‘s objectives?
To achieve its aims, COSA has the following objectives:
To provide education about sexual abuse issues by:
- disseminating information about true and false allegations of sexual abuse, especially to professionals working in the field, those involved in false allegations, the media, politicians, and the public at large;
- ensuring professional procedures are implemented which provide safeguards against the dissemination of misinformation, and redress this when it occurs;
- documenting cases and collecting and collating demographic data regarding false allegations.
To support those people involved in false allegations of sexual abuse by:
- providing a forum for them to communicate and share their experiences;
- helping establish reliable methods to discriminate between true and false claims, and determine the psychological and other reasons they are made;
- directing those involved to appropriate and available health, legal and other services and resources;
What are the benefits of joining COSA?
Become part of the solution Perhaps the most important benefit of all is the knowledge that you are contributing to the solution of a tragic problem which has been afflicting our society.
Support for affected individuals and families Knowing you are not alone in suffering the pain and destruction that false allegations wreak on families can be very supportive. Support is available by telephone and correspondence, and in some districts from support groups and face-to-face contacts.
Education COSA is actively engaged in collecting and distributing up-to-date information including the latest research findings and the precedents being set by courts.
Action for change Opportunity to assist on subcommittees set up to address specific issues. COSA provides assistance on request to individuals, families and the wider community, as well as convening sub-committees to formulate and detail courses of action aimed at correcting identified deficiencies.
Members receive a basic information package, one year’s subscription to the COSA newsletter, announcements of meetings, access to purchase at low cost a wide range of relevant printed material plus some video resources, and help in finding answers to their questions.
How do I become a member?
Membership is open to all persons or corporate bodies who agree with the objects of COSA. Applications for membership are submitted to the secretary on the membership application form together with the annual subscription fee. Applicants will become members when a duly submitted application has been confirmed by the executive committee and their name has been entered into the Register of members. Alternatively, where professional neutrality is sought, an option is available to subscribe to the newsletter without membership.
Does COSA speak out against the abuse of children?
Yes. We know that sexual abuse of children occurs. There is empirical evidence which indicates that the incidence of abuse is greater than was previously recognised. Sexual abuse is potentially very damaging to children and is a reprehensible crime. We support actions which provide help for those harmed by sexual abuse, and which create a social environment in which abuse does not continue to take place.
How do we know that COSA is not harbouring genuine offenders?
COSA cannot and does not judge the truth or falsity of reports it receives. It is the pattern in the reports that causes alarm. A primary tenet of our justice system is the presumption of innocence. We are concerned about actions taken by the courts and other institutions based on testimony for which there is no corroboration.
What are the patterns that have caused alarm?
- Allegations arising during custody and access disputes where young children may be susceptible to coercion and manipulation in the interests of one parent against another.
- Allegations arising from concerned adults initiating investigation on the basis of a child’s behaviour rather than a child disclosing abuse.
- Allegations of historical abuse based on "recovered memories", especially when these involve:
- memories of abuse as a very young child or baby
- bizarre, preposterous events including satanic ritual abuse
- extremely deviant sadistic acts performed by people with no previously noted psychopathology
- sexual abuse by the mother as well as the father or by groups of adults.
Who is affected by false sexual allegations?
Virtually everyone in our society. Cases of false allegations steal resources from the genuinely abused and undermine public credibility in our social services. Suggestive interviewing and therapeutic practices can result in children and adults coming to believe they have been sexually abused when in fact nothing happened. False allegations are devastating for the falsely accused and their families. Many adults, especially men, are now afraid to toilet, cuddle and hug children for fear their actions might be misconstrued.
Why would someone say something horrible has happened to them if it never really occurred?
Most people, both children and adults, who make false allegations are not lying. They have come to sincerely believe something has happened to them which never occurred. Believing they were sexually abused as children can give people answers to why their adult lives are not working, and someone to blame for their problems. It can provide them with a supportive network of therapists and other "survivors", and a safe environment for exploring and expressing their feelings.
There’s no smoke without fire. If someone is accused of a number of horrific crimes, surely he must have at least done some of them?
Not necessarily. There is overwhelming evidence that suggestive interviewing and therapy techniques can result in people constructing detailed and complex memories of things that never happened. Without independent corroboration, there is no way to know if someone’s memories represent actual events that really happened, completely fabricated confabulations, or exaggerated or distorted versions of the truth.
How does COSA benefit New Zealand society?
COSA ‘s activities are part of the solution to a very tragic problem which is afflicting our society. Many individuals and families are adversely and unnecessarily affected emotionally, financially and physically by false, invalid or wrongful allegations of sexual abuse. On the broad community front, almost everyone in our society is touched in some way. Cases of false allegations cause immense damage to all involved, they divert scarce resources from the genuinely abused, undermine public credibility in social services, and clog the Courts with unnecessary proceedings.
The principal benefits COSA provides to New Zealand’s community are:
- ensuring that resources are applied in the best possible way to help those who have been genuinely abused
- improving public health and well-being by healing those relationships damaged by false allegations
- increasing knowledge of sexual abuse which helps prevent its occurrence
- decreasing the resource burden imposed on the community, the Courts, our Social Services and the affected individuals and families.
- fostering opportunities to reconcile families and relationships to repair the damage caused by false allegations of sexual abuse.
COSA Plans to promote changes which help prevent the creation of false allegations by:
- improving public awareness about the nature and prevalence of false allegations of sexual abuse, the conditions and practices causing and sustaining them, and the steps that affected individuals can take to bring truth and well-being back into their lives;
- opposing the use of any programmes or procedures which have not been demonstrated to be effective and safe, unless the clients concerned give their informed consent to the use of experimental and speculative practices;
- ensuring mechanisms are established which allow professionals working in the field to be held accountable for any misinformation they impart, or iatrogenic practices they inflict upon their clients;
- challenging those aspects of statutory law and precedents which are contrary to the principles of natural justice, and which affect the ability of the judicial system to reach true and proper outcomes;
- challenging those aspects of law enforcement policies and practices that result in inhumane treatment and unnecessary suffering by all affected individuals;
- calling for inquiry into all convictions made in the absence of corroborative evidence;
- promoting competent scientific, medical and psychological research in sexual abuse issues including those conditions which lead to false allegations, and disseminating these results to relevant professionals and the general public;
- acknowledging that the natural parents and families of children are their preferable caregivers, and supporting programmes and protocols which, whenever possible, maximise children’s care and safety without their removal from parent or family.
Could being a member of COSA adversely affect me?
No. COSA does not deny the existence of genuine child abuse or condone sexual offending. We support all agencies and institutions who deal safely and effectively with these problems. Our aim is to support those who have done nothing wrong, but have tragically suffered the consequences of false allegations of sexual abuse, and to prevent this situation from continuing in the future.
Become part of the solution – Join COSA
Peter Ellis related websites are listed (here)
Australian False Memory Association: http://www.afma.asn.au/ The Australian False Memory Association does not condone child abuse. It is concerned about the serious individual and social effects of Recovered Memories. This includes the impact on the abused, those who recover false memories of child abuse, and individuals and families devastated by false accusation. All are victims of memory.
False Memory Syndrome Foundation: http://www.FMSFonline.org The Foundation offers a rich selection of documents dealing with FMS and related issues. Also available are subset bibliographies specifically covering MPD/DID (Multiple Personalities) and satanic ritual abuse.
British False Memory Society: www.bfms.org.uk Here is an opportunity to review the controversy surrounding "recovered memories" and false accusations of childhood sexual abuse. Read the BFMS newsletter, address the key issues or connect to related newsletters and sites around the world. Any candidates for our Therapist of the Month page would also be gratefully received.
For those harmed by Recovered Memory Therapy. www.geocities.com/~therapyletters/index.htm This site is run by Deb David.
Skeptical Inquirer: http://www.csicop.org/si/ Before the start of the Recovered Memory craze this magazine had exposed false memories about life before birth , Satanic Ritual Abuse, and later attacked also the Freudian notion of repressed memories. The magazine is published by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and has as its Fellows several people who have for a long time attacked the strange notion that people can walk around for decades unaware that they were victims of incest. When visiting this site just use its search engine and type in any of the following: Loftus, Sheaffer, Recovered Memories, False Memories, Multiple Personality Disorder, etc., and you will have access to many articles. NZ Skeptics website: http://www.spis.co.nz/skeptics.htm
Institute for Psychological Therapies: http://www.ipt-forensics.com/ The Institute for Psychological Therapies is a private practice of clinical psychology. IPT’s primary work is related to allegations of child sexual abuse, but also deals with cases of sexual harassment, claims of recovered memories of childhood abuse, accusations of rape, allegations of improper sexual contact by professionals, forced and coerced confessions, false confessions, personal injury claims, insanity and diminished capacity, murder, mitigating factors in sentencing, custody, and medical and psychological malpractice. In their journal Issues in Child Abuse Allegations is an article which explores the background to Christchurch Creche Case:
Satan’s Excellent Adventure in the Antipodes http://www.ipt-forensics.com/journal/volume10/j10_9.htm a paper by Michael Hill, Professor of Sociology, Victoria University of Wellington. "The satanism scare," which began in North America in the early 1980s, arrived in Australia during the late 1980s and in New Zealand from 1990 onwards. Its importation was associated with conference presentations and published material by a small but key group of claims-makers, several of whom had been associated with the earlier McMartin preschool investigation. The influence of their claims on child protection professionals in both Australia and New Zealand is traced.
Creative Therapeutics http://www.rgardner.com/ including information about new and upcoming books, tapes and diagnostic and therapeutic instruments from Richard A. Gardner, M.D. Includes material on learning disabilities, divorce and custody issues, assessing child sex-abuse accusations, Parental Alienation Syndrome.
The A – team: http://www.a-team.org/ The A-Team is made up of Lawyers, Trial Consultants, Psychologists, Medical Doctors and others assembled to help those wrongly accused of child abuse, domestic violence, date rape, sexual harassment and other gender crimes. And also child custody cases.
Stop Bad Therapy: http://www.StopBadTherapy.com Are you, a friend, or a loved one in therapy or considering it? Are you concerned about your or a friend’s therapy? (If so, take our online test for evaluating therapy!) Do you know someone who is at a vulnerable point in their life, suffering from a death in the family, post-partum depression, the loss of a job or a friend, or other problems? Is someone you know reading The Courage to Heal or "recovering repressed memories"? Have you been falsely accused of abuse on the basis of "repressed memories" which were supposedly "recovered" during therapy? Are you going through a contested divorce or a custody dispute and vulnerable to a false accusation? Do you care about justice and human rights?
False Allegations Com: http://falseallegations.com/ False Allegations ~ False Accusations ~ Recovered Memories ~ sexual abuse ~ sexual assault ~ child molestation ~ rape of child ~ sexual offender profiles ~ pedophiles ~ supervised visitation ~ custody ~ fathers’ rights ~ grandparents’ rights ~ men’s rights. My goal is to make this Website informative for all falsely accused of sexual abuse or assault or rape of a child. What I have uploaded is only the nucleus of what I hope to see here: a treasure trove of information related to false allegations. If you don’t see the answers to your questions here, visit my Store, where I sell answers to questions. And if those aren’t enough to solve your problems, visit The Back Room, where I discuss Consulting Services and Legal Representation.
Therapy’s Delusions: The Myth of the Unconcious and the Exploitation of today’s Walking Worried. 1999 book by Ethan Watters and Richard Ofshe: www.chordate.com/therapys_delusions/index.html
Dedicated to providing information regarding the abuse of talk therapy. Many, if not most, of the more than two hundred types of talk therapy currently being practiced share a lineage of mistakes. This means not only that generations of therapy patients have been misled, but that we share cultural notions about the workings of our minds that are fundamentally incorrect. Ethan Watters and Richard Ofshe make this case strongly in their book Therapy’s Delusions. These pages intend to provide more information and resources to patients and professionals regarding talk therapy and its misuse.
Seduction Theory website: http://www.shef.ac.uk/uni/projects/gpp/aesterson.html One of the most enduring myths of psychoanalytic history is that Freud proposed his seduction theory as a result of hearing frequent reports from his female patients that they had been sexually abused in childhood. A second myth is that in the early days of psychoanalysis, Freud’s medical colleagues took such exception to his theories of infantile sexuality that they subjected him to professional ostracism. Jeffrey Masson combined these two myths to produce a compelling and influential account of the seduction theory episode. However, an examination of the contemporary documents indicates that Freud’s clinical findings reported in the seduction theory papers were spurious, that he was right to abandon the seduction theory, and that Masson’s version of events is erroneous.
Witchhunt Links: http://witchhunt.org/ To many more sites relating to the SRA/RMT/FMS/Child Abuse Witchhunt controversy.
New Zealand – the cruel country: http://feminazi.bizland.com/index.htm New Zealand leads the world in feminist ideology and practice. It prides itself on the early adoption of measures to better the lot of women. But it also means, taken closer to some logical and illogical conclusions, that men are branded and go to jail.
Fausses AllÃ© gations d’Agression Sexuelle. This French-language website is maintained by: Dr Hubert Van Gijseghem, Professeur titulaire ÃƒÂ l’Ã© cole de psycho-Ã© ducation de l’UniversitÃ© de MontrÃ© al.
Civil Rights Organisation http://mensrights.bizhosting.com Website describing false accusations of sexual harassment. There is a good section on countering these false accusations as well as a good set of case histories.
Chris Saltrese is the law firm that Margaret Jervis works for. Writes some very sensible things about sexual abuse charges especially false allegations and commentary sections.