Sunday, February 7, 2010


Judge Hawksworth ruling that Catholic Church was responsible for the employment of its staff at St. Williams' Community Home where over the period of thirty years more than 140 men have allegedly suffered physical, sexual abuse and rape, has paved the way for the victims to obtain about £8 million compensation.
This is the largest claim in UK so far and needless, to say, has been resisted by Middlesborough Catholic Diocese.
In my opinion, the compensation is really quite small if one takes into the account the suffering of these men and that many ended up in prison.
Abuse and rape can lead to chronic post-traumatic stress disorder with a number of manifestations including changes in personality and affect (such as increased irritability). Anger can lead to violence and violence to prison, especially when authorities turn a blind eye to the crimes and things spin out of control. Thus, there is nothing novel in finding out that disproportionate number of men ended in prison.
One would have to consider how these men who alleged abuse have been treated by authorities, in my opinion. When the victims of the alleged crimes blew the whistle on the abuse by De La Salle Brothers employed by Catholic Church were they thrown into prisons? Were the victims scapegoated in any way?
Lawyers acting for the victims of the alleged abuse put in a huge amount of work. There have been all sorts of obstacles on the way. One key witness hanged himself in prison. The trial of several abusers collapsed. What support if any did this man have in prison?
It is expected that Pope will visit UK and there was a request for the tax payer to pay 3-6 million for this visit. I wonder if this was because Catholic church expects UK to pay for the negligent treatment of children in their care. Questions can be asked and answered why so many people did nothing for so long. Where were social services, medical services, and police?
My own experience as a psychiatrist with special interest in post-traumatic stress disorder tells me that good doctors can be hounded by authorities such as the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Psychiatrists' members of the Special Interest Group in Spirituality. It appears that it does not matter that it is well known that victims of abuse self-harmed, were never able to form intimate relationships and attempted suicide. Medical institutions are committed to conformity, not to patients, it appears to me.
In 1999 I pointed that psychiatrists, nurses and social workers working with mentally ill do not wear uniforms in UK and therefore, it is ethically wrong to allow those who are members of religious orders to wear their religious uniforms when working with mentally ill.
Uniforms make a barrier to trust between patients and doctors especially in psychiatry where one would reasonably be expected to see emotionally distressed people.
If religious uniforms form barrier to trust, patients do not give their history and without history there is no diagnosis Thus, a Catholic nun employed as a Social Worker would be handicapped in her ability to do her work and Catholic Church would benefit financially from e.g. non-disclosure of sexual abuse by clergy. Very simple, really.
When I raised my concerns about the wearing of religious uniform in mental health setting quite appropriately, nothing was done. I raised the concerns publicly through media and then harassment commenced with the aim to humiliate me and ultimately exclude me from the medical profession altogether. This campaign has been successful and the General Medical Council obliged by putting 15 conditions on my practice which make it impossible for anyone to give me medical work.
It is very easy for any doctor to be eliminated in this way. The Fitness to Practice Committees have had religious extremists working there for years. In my case, in 2003 one believed that demons cause epilepsy. In 2007, I had a psychiatrist judging me who also has supernatural beliefs and was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Spirituality Group. She judged me even though her mandate at GMC had expired. GMC gave their reasons "because she sat at my hearing before". They did not use the same people at Fitness to Practice Hearing as they did at Interim Orders Hearing.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists for ten years refused to address the issue of the wearing of religious uniforms. Finally, when they did, they conformed to the status quo of religious privilege. Religious bias at the Royal College of Psychiatrists has been present for many years.
The General Medical Council never considered the issue of ethics or how to protect patients and public interest with reference to the wearing of religious uniforms.
The political situation in all that time I have been hounded has been of religious policies and practices being forced into mental health services, education and prisons.
Human Rights are often not respected in UK because it would mean major changes in British institutions. Establishment does not want to change. It is comfortable and that pleasure of comfort is the major motivator for conformity. It has nothing to fear and it is not compelled to do anything by anybody.
Recently, Equality Bill has been defeated in the House of Lords in London which I would expect to be the case. It was religious opposition that defeated it. Lords law won.
The House of Lords still hangs to its name even though it is a misnomer. Surely, there are women there now and the name of the institution is so archaic.
Ask yourself why in England many toilets have Ladies written on the doors of the cubicles and men do not have Lords. I think, this is because men do not like the idea of Lord defecating and desperately hang onto the image of fancy clothes in fancy buildings saying self fancy things. Narcissism galore even in toilet politics.
If UK was a secular society, and human rights were really respected many institutions would disappear all together, in my opinion.
I doubt that my thinking is original and that many other people have not noticed the expansion of church into running of the business previously done by state institutions. Or is there a difference between the two (state and organised religious institutions)?
What I would propose that nobody goes to work in Parliament without learning about dysfunctional family psycho dynamics and how to take responsibility for their own feelings, actions and beliefs. MPs need to be trained and sign up to Continuous Professional Development Plan like all other professionals. The same applies to police, social services, lawyers, and doctors.
I had to laugh when I was informed that barristers are compelled to do 12 hours of Continuous Professional Development per year and think this is too much. What a joke.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

At least sex abuse victims can get compensation from the Catholic church. They're having a much harder time getting it from Barnados, Quarriers and local authorities; in my neck of the woods, cases involving the above were time barred after the government realised that local authorities would have to pay out massive amounts in compensation if the cases were proved. Not to mention that last year the National Children's Register reported that a quarter of girls leaving local authority care at age 16 were pregnant. Someone's abusing them, but is it going to be investigated or is it just going to be swept under the carpet like the rest?