MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

HISC (HOMEOPATHY IN THE SUSSEX COMMUNITY) was formed in 2011 and has established effective partnerships with organisations that support those in need. Projects include working with domestic and sexual violence charities as well as supporting people recovering from long-term and enduring mental health illness issues. They enable vulnerable and marginalised members of the Sussex community to access low cost treatment with highly experienced homeopaths.

On 22 July, HISC made the following announcement:

Homeopathy in the Sussex Community (HISC) has been awarded a grant from The National Lottery Community Fund to provide homeopathy to survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. 

HISC works in partnership with Sussex-based organisations; RISE, and Survivors Network, offering long-term and low-cost homeopathic support to women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence. 

This grant will fund these projects for the next year, allowing HISC to build on the valuable work already being done and reaching even more vulnerable women who want access to homeopathic support.

Society Fellow Caroline Jurdon and Registered members Michael Bird, Therese Eriksen, Tara Lavelle and Jo Magowan have all worked on the project with colleagues from the wider community. HISC received one of the Society of Homeopath’s Community Clinic awards in 2018.

HISC also offer volunteering and sitting in opportunities for students.

_________________________

The ‘National Lottery Community Fund’ make the following points on their website:

  • “Our funding is public money. This means that it cannot be used to give organisations an unlawful advantage.”
  • “We fund projects that support people and communities across the UK to thrive.”

I would argue that, for the following reasons, the award is misplaced:

  1. Public money should not be wasted. It must be invested in projects that have a reasonable chance to do more good than harm.
  2. A broad consensus exists today that homeopathy has no effect beyond placebo. In fact, the NHS has stopped funding homeopathy and states that “there’s been extensive investigation of the effectiveness of homeopathy. There’s no good-quality evidence that homeopathy is effective as a treatment for any health condition.”
  3. Homeopathy can endanger lives. If people are misled into believing that it is effective and thus treat serious conditions with homeopathy, they needlessly prolong their suffering or, in the worst case scenario, hasten their death. Awards of the above nature can undoubtedly have this effect.

In my view, this means that the award given to HISC by the  National Lottery Community Fund gives an unlawful advantage to an organisation promoting a bogus therapy. At best, it is a waste of public funds, at worst it causes serious harm.

Surely, women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence deserve better!

 

 

 

17 Responses to The UK ‘National Lottery’ funds homeopathy for women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence

  • How do we get this issue raised so that this funding is stopped?

    • it would be helpful if the UK press took it up; so, writing to journalists could do the trick.

      • Do not at least a few conscientious UK journalists read this bog to pick up on issues of relevance/importance/controversy?
        Whcich would then provide meat for the grist of their own investigatitive reporting mill?

        They should!

        They could make a good name forthemselves!

        Prof Ernst has done so much of the work for them.

        • I know some do.
          I also know some would like to write about stuff like this.
          and I also know that some are whistled back by their editors.

  • Thank you for this information Edzard.

    This bit was especially interesting to me;

    “HISC works in partnership with Sussex-based organisations; RISE, and Survivors Network, offering long-term and low-cost homeopathic support to women who have experienced abuse and sexual violence.”

    The Survivors Network is an organiasation of concern to skeptics and rationally minded people.

    I archived their PDF “self help guide” here

    web.archive.org/web/20200705220955/https://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/SN-Self-Help-Guide.pdf

    I found the following pages of particular interest;

    pp 10 and 11 are of interest to researchers into memory and false memories
    pp 18 mentions “regression”
    pp 20 claims that the body “can hold trauma from rape or sexual abuse”, a completely unproven theory beloved of “energy therapists” and other abusive quacks.

    there are other pages of interest to academics and skeptical researchers in the field of memory and false memories

    pp35 recommends the book “The Courage To Heal” by Ellen Bass and Laura Davies – a notorious tome -the authors have no mental health qualifications and both have long associations with the new age epicentre of quackery and woo woo Esalen. The book promotes the idea that unexplained medical symptoms and various life problems are the result of child sexual abuse that has been forgotten and that embarking on a journey to recover memories of abuse is the way forward. It is absolutely appalling that this dangerous book is promoted by anyone in this day and age.

    There are so many concerning aspects to the Survivors Network organisation that it is difficult to know where to start. The fact that they are involved in promoting homeopathy is utterly unsurprising to anyone familiar with the organisation.

    I do not have time to post all of my concerns here but have archived some links that anyone interested may wish to take a look at. Women who have experienced violence and sexual abuse deserve safe, evidence based, supporive services, not a cult-like array of dangerous woo woo.

    links from the Survivors Network website likley to be of interest to skeptical persons concerned about the safeguaring of vulnerable people

    web.archive.org/web/20211003201517/https://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/DID.pdf

    https://web.archive.org/web/20220413130723/https://survivorsnetwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Letter-to-EHRC-re-gender-guidance-12.4.22.pdf

    • Any idea why there is editorail neurosis about issues such as this?
      They don’t seem to be nervous about reporting on politics or sport.

      Failure to provide helpful, even valuable, information to their various readerships is a denial of free speech (which many editors bang on about) and to be deprecated.
      Denial of information is complicity in mis-information by default.

      That itself is a story!

      • Yes, that itself is a story!
        But try to get it published!!!

      • In addition to Louise’s informative comments, this area is also a reflection of how poor reporting of scientific and medical topics usually is in most media.

        I have seen numerous examples in the Guardian of their story being a report of someone else’s report of the press release of the abstract, in which an extra positive spin is added at each stage with the final story bearing little resemblance to the original paper. And when one very politely contacts the journo to point this put, one receives a hostileand dismissive response; contacting the so-called Readers’ Editor is no better.

        I’m not just picking on the Graun, it just happens to be the one I know best; I have come across other, even worse, examples in the nursing press and received similarly dismissive responses, even when some “research” was published and I knew for a fact that it hadn’t been conducted as claimed, as I and numerous colleagues were said to be part of the study population, except we hadn’t been…

        There is little commitment in much of the media to accuracy of such stories, just to headlines and clickbait.

        • Murmur, you might be interested in the below archived recent article in the New Statesman

          I was especially interested to see this kind of pseudoscientific discourse promoted uncritically

          “Suppressing memories of trauma is often the only way to live with them. A 1994 paper published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology demonstrated how common it is for people to repress sexual abuse. In a study where women were sexually abused as children, 38 per cent of the survivors had forgotten their abuse two decades on.

          The denial of a memory does not mean that the body has forgotten the abuse, however. Reuber explains: “Long-term effects on how the body and brain respond to their environment may be caused by experiences that cannot be recalled. Trauma can be ‘stored’ in the body in different ways – for instance, in the brain’s basic level of arousal, persistent activation of the body’s immune system, changes in how the brain’s endocrine system responds to stressful events, and which bits of the genetic code in the cells of our body are activated.”

          https://archive.ph/fNtWG

          relevant to the above article is an interesting website

          This is a curious website and organisation as it boasts the involvement of doctors, professors, neuroligists and psychiatrists and yet it promotes woo woo such as Emotional Freedom Technique. What can it possibly mean?

          https://web.archive.org/web/20210812164835/https://fndhope.org/living-fnd/healthy-living/other-techniques/

          This page is also interesting
          https://web.archive.org/web/20220727095209/https://www.fndhope.org.uk/new-art-project-needs-fnd-participants-2/

          • Thanks for that: some light reading for later!

            It is of interest as I worked in CAMHS for nearly 30 years and, unsurprisingly, encountered many abused bairns. Oddly, all of them could remember exactly what had happened to them…

            None of this nonsense about “recovered memories” and the rest ever made sense to me or my colleagues.

            I will also return to one of my long-standing gripes: teaching of critical thinking, assessment of evidence, reading of scientific papers, conducting research and most of those associated areas are very badly taught, if at all, in much healthcare training (nursing, my former trade, is especially bad, but most of the others, including medicine, are little better). This has lead to some interesting conversations over the years with colleagues who think “I read it in a book” means decent evidence…

          • I’ve had a read of those links and it looks like a number of issues are being conflated.

            It’s pretty common knowledge by now that the extent of abuse, be it sexual, physical or other, is far wider than had been acknowledged; it has long been known that folk don’t always disclose (there was even an essay question about this very topic on my nursing finals paper in 1988 – yes, I did answer that one); dissociative conditions are pretty well known, as is the link with abuse; chronic pain conditions with little obvious cause are known, but links to abuse are less clear; as I said in another response, everyone I know who has worked in this area knows that even if someone has not disclosed they remember fine well what has happened to them, which is most definitely not the same as “repression” – it’s just not talking openly about it while being haunted by the memories; “grounding” and EFT are a load of unevidenced old nonsense.

            It is also pretty well known that there are limitations in what GPs know and can deal with, which is not a surprise as they need to be all things to all people and that just isn’t feasible. However, quite a few GPs I know are not always willing to acknowledge those limitations and can become quite dismissive (I nearly had to throw one GP out of some training on deliberate selfharm assessment I was conducting for disruptive interruptions based purelu on what they did not know.

            It is a complicated, messy area, but nothing is helped by some of the simplistic woo attached in certain quarters.

        • @Murmur

          I have read a fair amount of sensationalized reporting on science and medical topics. Like you said they are just looking for clicks or the journalist has no background in science and/or the complex scientific topic they are reporting on and may end up misinterpreting the topic.

          At some point I started checking the author’s background before I read their story. I primarily look to see if the author has a background in science, their level of education, area of expertise and if their background is close to what they are writing about. That reduces the sources significantly but I am find with that, quality over quantity. I like reading science topics here: https://arstechnica.com/science/ their science reporters are pretty good and they tend to have relevant background.

  • “Any idea why there is editorail neurosis about issues such as this?”

    There are multiple reasons for this, to my knowledge. There is likely a book in that answer alone. Also the more one knows about this subject the more one becomes aware that there are things unknown.

    One important issue is that politics and the media have become a kind of theatre in which people and groups are allocated the identity of either heroes or villians, victims or perpetrators. This narrative runs throughout the campaigns of populist political figures, through the transgender rights movement and through Brexit narratives like veins of mould through smelly blue cheese.

    In such times it is unsurprising that people rush to claim the mantle of oppressed victim, partly because the alternative is so terrifying.

    Also I believe that it is the default mode of humans to perceive ourselves as oppressed and wronged and to attempt to find scaoegoats to blame for real or imaginary crimes. Populist politicians make good use of these tendencies, the Rivers of Blood speech being an excellent example of the use of such narratives. Donald Trump has excelled himself very recently in this kind of rhetoric.

    The foundations of controversial book The Courage to Heal are based in the same narratives. Is your life a failure? Do you struggle with intimacy and interpersonal relationships? Do others take advantage of you and not recognise your special qualities? Do you suffer with medicallyt unexplained symptoms? If you can related to these issues that you were sexually abused as a child and the reason you can’t remember it is because it was so traumatic that your mind could not process it and the memories became trapped in your body at a cellular level.

    Embarking on a “journey” of “body psychotherapy” including massage (possibly including genital massage), yoga (likely with an abusive yoga cult of which there is an abundance), meditation, “breathwork” (hyperventilating) , “plant medicines” (psychotropic drugs / entheogens) will help you to “stand in your power” / “speak your truth” and “remember who you are”.

    Then there is the much promoted “trauma informed” approach. This means that we should not ask people “why are you addicted to drugs / alcohol?”, “why did you burgle that little old lady’s house?” or “why did you do (insert really bad things here)?”. The question that you must ask is “what happened to you to make you do such a thing?” You may not know what happened to you and may not have a memory of anything but never fear, the reason you cannot remember is because it was too traumatic and the memories are held in the body at a cellular level. You simply have to go on a journey of bullshit woo woo and bingo! You will have an answer, a redemption narrative and you are no longer a perpetrator but an oppressed victim!

    These kinds of discourses are very common in certain controversial medical diagnoses, the link below provides a helpful example

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-pandas-story/

    This video is extremely helpful also. It aims to convince viewers of the scientific basis of certain controversial conditions, however I would suggest that it is immensely helpful to curious skeptics and rationalists

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MA1EYAg9y5k

    This video is similarly useful, in fact the woo woo is strong in the YouTube channel that uploaded this video and other videos on the channel have debunking value
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GWgdvG8PCU

    The woman in the video thought she had been sexually abused but had no memories, consulted an earth monther therapist, they did some “breathwork” then she had a memory (she knew it was a real memory because she felt it in her body – okaaaay.) Then she felt the cells in her body rearranging themselves which she believes is a wonderful thing. Of course the sensation that her body’s cells were rearranging themselves was as subjective and imaginary as the “body memories” which is a good thing. If her cells really were rearranging themselves she would have induced cancer. The cells in your body rearranging themselves is not a good thing.

    I can understand why some editors are cautious about publishing exposes of this kind of dangerous woo woo and it is because they will be accused of being oppressors of the most vulnerable victims in society. Not only that but these organisations establish “survivor” support groups consisting of vulneable people who passionately identify as “survivors” and who can be manipulated into all manner of protests and actions both online and in real life.

    People who stick their head above the parapet face bullying and doxxing and also their families may be targeted in various ways.

    Many novel campaigning groups have formed with the aim of training and “educating” journalists and the media on how to report about rape and sexual abuse. Many act as gatekeepers to “survivors”. All of such groups that I am aware of either promote debuked / pseudoscientific recovered memory woo woo or have significant network connections to woo woo of various kinds.

    These developments are fascinating and disturbing. Challenging the bullshit needs careful consideration with regard to strategy. I am still thinking about how best to fight and what weapons to use. When the opponent uses vulnerable people as human shields, as is the case, storming the front gates is not the best strategy.

  • The press do sometimes report on some things, for example this critical report about the Survivors Network in the MailOnline. Most of the mainstream press do not report on this kind of thing or report only from a very biased perspective

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10960031/Rape-victim-sues-survivors-charity-allowing-trans-woman-attend-support-group.html

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