The NSPCC documented allegations of Satanic ritual abuse in 1990, with the publication of survey findings that, of 66 child protection teams in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, 14 teams had received reports of ritual abuse from children and seven of them were working directly with children who had been ritually abused, sometimes in groups of twenty. An investigation into SRA allegations by the British government produced over two hundred reports, of which only three were substantiated and proved to be examples of pseudosatanic abuse, in which sexual abuse was the actual motivation and the rituals were incidental.
The NSPCC also provided a publication known as Satanic Indicators to social services around the country that has been blamed for some social workers panicking and making false accusations of sexually abusing children. The most prominent of these cases was in Rochdale in 1990 when up to twenty children were taken from their homes and parents after social services believed them to be involved in satanic or occult ritual abuse. The allegations were later found to be false. The case was the subject of a BBC documentary which featured recordings of the interviews made by NSPCC social workers, revealing that flawed techniques and leading questions were used to gain evidence of abuse from the children. The documentary claimed that the social services were wrongly convinced, by organisations such as the NSPCC, that abuse was occurring and so rife that they made allegations before any evidence was considered.
In 1999, an advert released by the NSPCC "warning" of the risk of children being murdered by strangers was criticised as a fear-mongering fundraising tactic, as such occurrences are exceedingly uncommon.