police who bring the prosecution fail to make arrests? Because the allegations were nearly thirty years ago, it was difficult to gather evidence. Police colleagues did not want to get involved especially those that I have assisted in the past. Community members whom I had helped did not want to assist. My local MP did not want to assist. Even as an elected member of the council, fellow councillors avoided me.’ Effects upon religious faith The ordeals experienced by three participants caused them to abandon religion. As Rick put it, ‘I have lost my faith in God, and no longer pray. What happened to me was malicious, cruel, vindictive, and, if there were some sort of Superior Being, how could he allow such things to happen? What would be the point of such random behaviour in the scheme of things.?’ However, five participants reflected that the experience of being falsely accused had either strengthened their religious faith, citing it as a source of support, or that their faith had been unshaken.
53 4.6 Coping Mechanisms ‘I appreciated the courage shown by those who have challenged the perceived view that there is ‘no smoke without fire’, and that child abuse is rife in the UK - sometimes at great cost to themselves and their reputations.’ (Andy) ‘I have refocused my energy, have learned things about control/management, self-responsibility. I value my life and the opportunities within it… Once I had gone past the disillusioning experience of the IPCC, I was able to reclaim my life. While there is always a sub-surface anxiety that unscrupulous solicitors or police might try again to wreak havoc, I have a place in my inner architecture where I can put that potential fear. As a friend said during the experience, “Do not let life slip through your fingers even though your hands are tied”.’ (James) Complainants, many of whom will be genuine victims of abuse, are entitled to certain privileges in order to assist them in the criminal process, help them to recover and compensate them for the harms done to them, even if their accusations do not result in a conviction. In comparison, those who are accused - even when they are acquitted - receive little to no formal support from the state. Most of our participants felt aggrieved about what they considered to be an unfair response to their trauma. Indeed, nine of them felt that they had not received support from anyone. Coping Mechanisms (n=30) Therapy, counselling & medication: 12 participants Assisting others in a similar situation: 16 participants Support groups (e.g. FACT): 22 participants Positive mind-set: 14 participants Seeking support from others: 24 participants Learning new skills or hobbies: 9 participants That each of our participants volunteered to talk candidly about their experiences could indicates a degree of resilience and psychological adjustment. Indeed a few of our participants reflected on such outlets as a means of coming to terms with their experiences.
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- Spring '18
- Confessions, The Confessions