It has been recognized recently that one of the reasons for miscarriages of justice in the trials of sex offenders is the “false-memory” syndrome.
Repressed-memory, recovered-memory and false-memory are often used interchangeably. They are but different phases of reproduction. Whilst the concept of “repressed-memory” is the notion that personal histories of the most awful childhood can be hidden from consciousness for decades, “recovered-memory” denotes the recovery episodes when repressed feelings are released by unlocking the repressed memory cage. Allegations of sexual abuse based on recovered memory are treated by the criminal justice system as delayed reports and there is no time limit for prosecuting the alleged sexual abuse. False-memory, a riposte to an alleged “repressed-memory syndrome”, has been defined as “the recollection of an event which did not occur but in which the individual strongly believes.
Historically, the widespread use of memory recovery techniques was triggered by a self-help book co-authored by Bass and Davis in the United States of America in 1988, recovered memory narratives, television documentaries, films and chat shows. In the United Kingdom, the widespread use of recovered-memory technique began in 1990 and the British False Memory Association was formed in 1993 following reports that well-educated adult daughters in their late thirties were making serious allegations of childhood sexual abuse after undergoing therapy.