November 16, 1993
Ritual Abuse Therapist to present Christchurch
by Martin Van Beynen
ritual abuse therapist cited as an authority, during the Christchurch Civic
Childcare Centre case will present a seminar in Christchurch this week.
Ms Pamela Hudson has been brought to Christchurch
by the Campbell Centre, a counselling service funded by Presbyterian Support
Ms Hudson's name cropped up during the preliminary hearing into the creche
charges in December last year. A woman witness, whose son implicated creche
workers in a circle incident, admitted calling for Ms Hudson to be brought to
She said she doubted the ability of counsellors in Christchurch to work in the area of ritual
Allegations of ritual abuse surfaced during the police inquiry into the
Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre this year. A six-year-old boy recounted
the circle-type incident in the fourth of five interviews conducted with him
by interviewers from the Department of Social Welfare. Among other
allegations, the boy claimed children had been forced to stand naked in a
circle and made to kick each other while "slit-eyed" people in
white suits stood around playing guitars.
The allegations formed the basis of charges laid against three women creche
workers who were later discharged.
The director of the Campbell Centre, Mr Bruce McNatty, said the seminar had
no specific connection with the creche case.
It had been organised by a previous director of the Centre, Ms Rosemary
Smart, he said. The Christchurch City Council commissioned Ms Smart to
prepare a report on the creche in March 1992. When it was released, after the
conviction of creche worker Peter Ellis on child abuse charges in July, Ms
Smart was highly critical of creche staff. They had missed obvious signs
identifying Ellis as a potential sex abuser, she said. Ms Smart is at present
Mr McNatty said Ms Hudson wanted to keep a low profile as the "very
controversial" issue had been sensationalised in the past, he said. The
seminar was entirely self-funding. Advertising material for it includes the
heading: "Ritual Abuse is Currently in the News. Some People Say There
is No Such Thing. Therapists and Counsellors are Seeing More of It "
In biographical material Ms Hudson says she was introduced to ritual abuse in
1985 when she realised a number of children she was counselling had been
abused at the same creche. After eight months in private counselling the
children began talking about being buried in coffins, of adults in cloaks and
masks, dead babies, animal sacrifices, and circles with lighted candles.
Therapists like Ms Hudson have come under worldwide attack with detractors
accusing them of planting false ideas in the minds of children through
In February, Presbyterian Support Services organised workshops by a Canadian
sexual abuse expert, Dr Judith Myers-Avis, on therapy dealing with repressed
memories and multiple personalities.
Survivors of alleged ritual abuse refer to the abuse first coming to light
when memories of the abuse surface in therapy. Trauma linked to the abuse
caused the memories to be repressed until recovery in therapy, they say.