British False Memory Society's website can be found here

 

What is False Memory?

 

Psychiatrist, Paul R McHugh, described false memory as “a condition in which a person’s identity and interpersonal relationships are centred around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes.”

 

Victims of false memory may continue to believe vehemently that their ‘memories’ are accurate, in spite of objective evidence to the contrary.

 

Founded in 1993, the British False Memory Society's website provides a lot of detail about what false memory is and what impact it can have on the accused and their families.  

 

How does false memory differ from genuine allegations of sexual assault?

 

The BFMS abhors child abuse. It is a heinous crime which may have devastating and long-lasting consequences for victims. However there is an important distinction to be made between these crimes and false memory cases: sexual abuse is easy to remember and extremely difficult to forget. Genuine victims unfortunately cannot repress or forget what has happened to them.

 

False memory, conversely, is often characterised by the emergence of new memories and victims of false memory often claim to have been assaulted repeatedly, hundreds of times in some cases, but these memories are supposed to have been repressed completely prior to receiving therapy.

 

"Whole new genre" of miscarriages of justice

 

Historic abuse trials often rely on evidence from memory alone. But how reliable is memory?  Some in the legal world now fear such cases could be creating a "whole new genre" of miscarriages of justice - bbc.co.uk

 

Do we understand enough about how memory works to properly assess evidence in sex abuse cases when allegations date back decades? Can juries make decisions based on their common sense in complex cases?  - Memory on Trial

 

The legal reasoning was discussed in a speech by The Hon. Mr Justice Mostyn: The Craft of Judging and Legal Reasoning

 

Please see further articles here

 

However, please note the reliabliility of false memory experts have been found inadmissible in recent Court of Appeal hearings - see article here