Police Consulted “Dissociative Identity Disorder” Therapist In Ted Heath Abuse Probe

From the Daily Mail:

The farce over the Sir Edward Heath child abuse inquiry grew yesterday as it emerged that a member of an independent panel scrutinising the probe has been paid to help on the case.

Dr Elly Hanson, a clinical psychologist who specialises in abuse and trauma, received £2,025 for advising Wiltshire Police about two individuals who have made allegations against the late Tory prime minister.

The force subsequently asked her to join a panel of four looking at all aspects of the Operation Conifer probe to help police chiefs ‘consider the ongoing proportionality and justification for the investigation’.

The report goes on to add that Hanson denies any conflict of interest.

It is not known for sure if the “two individuals” she was asked about pertain to the Satanic Ritual Abuse claims against Heath or some other strand of the investigation, but it’s a reasonable assumption: another expert consulted by police stated last week that the SRA claims were “the core strand” that Wiltshire Police “wanted to use to prove Ted Heath’s guilt”.

Further, Hanson is actually a specialist in “Dissociative Identity Disorder”, a diagnosis that implies memories that have been repressed due to trauma, usually childhood sexual abuse. We know that the Heath SRA accusers were a “group” of women, and that the main accuser underwent recovered memory therapy in Canada.

It seems unlikely that Hanson would have advised the police to exercise caution: just last month she gave a presentation at a conference organised by the European Society for Trauma and Dissociation (ESTD), where other speakers included Peter Garsden, a firm believer in the “sacrifce of children” by “secret societies” (as blogged here) and three members of the Ritual Abuse Information Network and Support (RAINS, previously blogged here).

Supposed “recovered memories” have formed the basis for numerous allegations  of Satanic Ritual Abuse. Some background here is provided by by Jeffrey Victor in his 1993 book Satanic Panic: The Creation of a Contemporary Legend:

MPD [Multiple Personality Disorder, the old name for Dissociative Identity Disorder] psychotherapists are faced with an ambiguous problem in need of a clear explanation… The Satanic cult legend serves as a substitute for “hard news”, that is, a substitute for a decisive discovery of a cause for the ambiguous symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder… There is good evidence that MPD patients have a chameleon-like, manipulative personality and feed therapists the kind of stories they feel therapists want to hear. (p. 93)


The “survivor” stories were first given credibility when leading MPD psychiatric authorities publicly professed belief in their plausibility. This happened at the firat national conference of the International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality disorder, in 1984. Once authority figures lent credibility to the stories, the process of consensual validation, operating through the psychiatric communication network, reinforced the credibility of the stories. In this network, normal open and public scientific criticism and dispute is discouraged.

…Believing therapists have been articulating the Satanic cult legend in great detail for years, since the mid-1980s, without publishing any empirical research findings in juried scientific journals where the findings can be subjected to scientific cross-examination. (pp. 93-94, 95)

I speculated on how such networks may provide a link between old SRA claims and new false sex abuse allegations against public figures in the UK here.

It is perhaps also relevant to note that at the start of 2016 Hanson gave a presentation at an exhibition called “The Wall of Silence”, which was created to highlight the testimonies of child abuse survivors. One of the exhibition’s promoters, a nurse named Sue Crocombe, believes that Heath must be guilty of sex abuse, and the exhibition blurb makes special reference to “powerful people” supposedly being involved in child sex abuse. This is based on the testimony of the exhibition’s “exemplar” survivor, a man who has made extravagant allegations against politicians.

UPDATE (March 2021): A related op-ed by Richard Hoskins has since been withdrawn by the Mail on Sunday as part of a libel settlement after a claim was brought by Hanson. Her legal representative is quoted in Press Gazette:

“Contrary to what the article alleged, Dr Hanson had not organised the [Wall of Silence] event, did not know Beech would be attending when she accepted an invitation to speak, and, Dr Hanson believes, learned that fact either shortly before or on the day…

“She met Beech at the event, speaking briefly with him in person for the first – and only – time that day for a couple of minutes…”


“Dr Hanson did not in fact express a prejudicial view about Sir Edward Heath prior to joining the Operation Conifer scrutiny panel, as the article also alleged…”

22 Responses

  1. I think it is worth pointing out that the other expert consulted by police said in his Radio 4 interview that he, too, is a believer in recovered memories. Hoskins, it seems, just doesn’t believe in these particular recovered memories.

    Hoskins also stated that he himself is a CSA survivor.

  2. For full, factual information about the Wall of Silence exhibition do visit http://www.southmeadproject.org.uk

  3. For full, factual information about the Wall of Silence exhibition including background, aims and booking process do visit http://www.southmeadproject.org.uk

  4. Thanks for the link about the Wall of Silence exhibition. Elly Hanson’s presentation at the ESTD conference in Norwich was excellent. She is exploring ways of helping the police develop protocol and guidelines when interviewing & working with severely traumatised survivors of organised criminal abuse. This is
    very important work that will hopefully enable perpetrators of these kinds of crimes to be brought to justice. A credit to the police that they are seeking advice on best practice in this highly sensitive aspect of their work.

  5. A little bit of background on Dr Mike and The Southmead Project here (from a speech given when Mike became an Honorary Doc):


    The speech was given by Professor Kim Etherington who had been employed by Mike when the Project switched its focus from drug abuse to “working with stories of historic trauma and abuse”:

    (“It was for this important aspect of the work that Mike raised money for research which I was commissioned to undertake.”)

    Professor Etherington’s website is interesting:

    Her speciality seems to be EMDR (‘Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing’) which I must admit I’d never even heard of before. From her site:

    “When people are exposed to traumatic events the brain may be unable to process the experiences in the usual ways. Distressing events may become ‘frozen in time’, stored with all the intensity of the original experience. When something reminds the person (consciously or unconsciously) of the traumatic events, the frozen material may become activated and the person feels as though they are currently reliving the experience: they may become disturbed by intrusive thoughts, images, sounds, smells, and feelings that belong in the past…”

    I can’t deny it all sounds a little odd, though I’m no (honorary) doctor, so what do I know?

    • A little bit of further reading for those interested in those Professors & Doctors who can blind us with their accreditations & baubels and who may lurk behind some of the more outlandish claims… from Professor Kim’s book:

      “Chapter 9 is powerfully written by Matt V who was traumatised in childhood through neglect and emotional abuse inflicted by alcoholic and violent parents… … Matt´s body reacted by developing blocked glands and facial warts which were eventually healed be using homeopathy, meditation, flower remedies, kinesiology and psychic healing. However, his most powerful transformation seems to have been achieved by energy work which reconnected him with his essential life force blocked in childhood, and by revisiting his childhood through regression, allowing him to re-experience sights, sounds, touch and smells…”


  6. You may be interested to learn more about EMDR which is recommended by the NHS’s NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines for PTSD & is extremely helpful to many traumatised people. There is a solid evidence base:


  7. And a wee bit of further reading for anyone interested:

    An apparent fan of both Dr Elly Hanson & Professor Kim Etherington is the counsellor Susanne Hart who has worked extensively with The Southmead Project, as counsellor (“I have experience with providing counselling for sexual abuse, and the impact of traumatic experiences and Post Traumatic Stress through my work with The Southmead Project and in my private practice”) and also helped organize ‘The Wall Of Silence’.

    [Sample tweets from Hart:

    “Dr Elly Hanson explains the ways in which #CSA is hidden and silenced by abusers and a disbelieving public. #WallofSilence #RAVSCA”

    “Wonderful to hear @Carl_Survivor speak here today. Speak it loud! #WallofSilence #RAVSCA #CSA”

    “Fantastic reception for the #WallofSilence today@southmeadproj and @Carl_Survivor. You can be proud of what you’ve achieved! #RAVSCA”

    And one from Dr Mike:

    “Huge credit to Dr Elly Hanson @SusanneHart – their support during the creation of the Wall of Silence exhibition and actual launch top notch”]

    Hart lists her ‘additional training’ as:

    Childhood Sexual Abuse, Addiction and Recovery – The Southmead Project
    When the Victim is Male – Professor Kim Etherington, Bristol University
    The Impact of Trauma – Professor Kim Etherington, Bristol University
    Sexual Abuse – Wessex Counselling Service

    • ^ Interesting.

      This website :


      now seems to be for sale, but it was the online space where Carl Survivor initially placed some of his allegations, before setting up his own blog.

    • According to a North Yorks website, on a page giving contact details for various survivor groups around Britain:

      ” This Tangled Web – London Area ~ a charity helping survivors of men and women of sexual abuse – a great resource.

      Here is a flavour of what they offer:

      Ask Any Question (Get Professional Guidance)

      Fortnightly Coffee Morning (Female Survivors)

      Daily Online Peer to Peer Support Group (Male & Female Survivors)

      Public Speaking (Kate shares her story & awareness information)

      Training (Recently for the London Ambulance Service)

      Annual Social Events for Survivors (Male & Female Survivors)

      We have five published Books for Survivors

      Website: http://www.thistangledweb.co.uk


  8. Please remove / edit the last paragraph as (a) you did not ask my permission to print this (b) contains false info about me.
    I am not the organiser of the wall of silence exhibition. I have never said that I believe Heath to be guilty of CSA. The exhibition focus is on survivors of child abuse ( in all its forms) from all walks of life. Not about high profile people as abusers

    • Richard Bartholomew is I think a responsible blogger, and I’m confident that he will edit/remove anything incorrect or false that is brought to his attention.

      I must say, however, that I don’t believe that he requires permission from you to quote your tweets, they are essentially public info unless you opt for a protected account.

    • I have removed the word “organiser”, that was a mistaken impression that I got from your appearance on Made in Bristol TV as a public face of the exhibition along with Mike Pierce.

      However, you have said that Heath has “victims(now adults)” who are now suffering from “hurt”. The only possible meaning of this is that you believe that Heath is guilty of CSA. Perhaps you simply forgot that you had written this, but I also note your continuing confidence in the testimony of “Nick”, who also alleges sex abuse by Heath. Also, the exhibition blurb refers specifically to “powerful people” as abusers, the significance of which I discussed further here. This may not be the exhibition’s focus, but it is certainly an element of it.

      I also don’t understand why you would publish your views on a subject as a public activist and then object to someone referring to them.

    • Hard to see how such repetitive hashtag ‘activism’ could mean anything BUT believing Heath to be guily of CSA:

      “Please RT #IBelieveNick #IBelieveinNick #opmidland”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.