Australian False Memory Association

“The Australian False Memory Association has been formed to support families affected by recovered false memories. False Memory is the phenomenon when the person recovering the memories believes them to be true when they are not. The recovered memories frequently relate to child sexual abuse and these memories often emerge after adult children seek therapy for various reasons, such as depression, lack of self-esteem, eating disorders or drug dependency.

The Australian False Memory Association abhors any form of child abuse, and is only against unjust and unfounded accusations of abuse.

“We aim to bring the problem of the damage being inflicted on ordinary Australians into the open so the public may be aware of the dangers.

We work for the reconciliation of families affected by false recovered memories, the advancement of understanding of the phenomenon and justice for all those involved in past or future accusations.

…AFMA is not affiliated with any other organisation in Australia or overseas.”

Message to Those who have Recovered Memories

…”Truth is important for all. For the abused, the falsely accused, and those who recover false memories. The AFMA represents grieving individuals and their families, accused by a either a family-member, acquaintance, or stranger. …AFMA places the welfare of the individual and their family above that of any ideology. …We accept the reality of the genuine distress of individuals who have come to truly believe they were abused, following the “recovery of false repressed/ dissociated memories.” Resentments and misunderstandings occur. Only the interpretation and beliefs associated with the “recovered memory experience”, is the subject of our reasonable doubts.Our concern is as much for the welfare of those who eventually come to realise that their life and relationships have become distorted by a mis-informed, or mis-guided, belief. Recovering the “memories” is dreadful enough, let alone coming to the later realisation that these are wrong. … You are our children, grand children, brothers and sisters.The AFMA does not wish for any more casualties. Your “recovered memory experience” needs to be understood, not to be the subject of ceaseless conflict. Through knowledge, communication, honesty, and awareness of the feelings and views of others, the initial steps towards reconciliation can occur.Reconciliation is only sought in the spirit of understanding and truth.”To get information about families dealing with issues surrounding erroneous allegations of childhood sexual abuse you may contact: false.memory@bigpond.comFrom the website of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation newsletter.

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  1. Fred Pauser

     /  03/06/2011

    The following is from the Q&A section of the website of the Australian False Memory Association:

    Is There Scientific Evidence To Support The Mechanisms of repression and Dissociation producing amnesia for traumatic events which are then recalled years later?

    This is a central feature of the recovered memory debate. There is no scientific evidence for this, a view now gradually being admitted by professional societies across the world. Empirical research on memory fails to demonstrate this, and tends to report the opposite: trauma results in being unable to forget, not being unable to remember.

    This is a key point! The concept of the repression of memories of sexual abuse began with the very unscientific notions of Sigmund Freud. Due to a combination of factors coming together in the 1980s, the notion took off among psychotherapists.

    Even today, many therapists still practice recovered memory techniques despite the evidence indicating how easy it is to instead implant or induce the creation of false memories with such techniques — especially when the therapist suspects sexual abuse and is looking for it.

    Even with the many years of training required to become a psychaitrist, they receive insufficient education in scientific methods and critical thinking. Psychiatrists are generally highly ranked as able to understand human nature, but they and the educational system have, to a significant extent, failed.


    • I agree that the issue of the mind repressing decades of repeated trauma is the core of this argument, not whether or not child sexual abuse has occurred. I was going to say that I don’t know why people continue to think those who oppose the ability of the mind to repress trauma for decades = not believing that child sexual abuse has occurred. But as I had that thought, I realize that if child sexual abuse is removed from the equation, what’s left? The question of the mind’s ability to repress repeated abuse for decades. That might collapse the thinking of those who believe they have MPD. And if that house of cards collapses, so does what came before it.

      It reminds me of when I presented my former psychiatrist with a well known fact – the uncle I initially accused of sexual abuse, was in the military and stationed outside the US. The psychiatrist just glared at me & to this day has not replied. It was that moment that nearly 7 years of recovering memories became questionable. As I traced backwards, the house of cards (to use Robyn Dawes’ term) collapsed on itself.


  2. In New Zealand, Casualties of Sexual Allegations (COSA) was formed in the early 90’s, but ceased in 2000. Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith was one of the founding members and has ties to FMSF. Here’s the website if you wanted to check it out –

    You can see it’s hosted on MENZ, which is administered by Felicity’s husband John Potter, who was convicted on charges of indecently assaulting minors, sexually assaulting minors and attempted rape of a minor in 1992-3 (see: Conflicting interests?).

    Thought I’d add the information, as the group is no longer operational, and doesn’t have the term FMS in their title.




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