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Analysis and Comment (48)

Rotherham’s reputation will now precede it. Rotherham’s reputation will now precede it. Lynne Cameron/PA

In Rotherham blame game, media ignores those who did good work

Rotherham Metropolitan Council has released its independent report on the handling of child sexual exploitation cases in the borough between 1997 and 2013. The author of the report, Professor Alexis Jay…
Tensions are running high in Rotherham. Tensions are running high in Rotherham. Lynne Cameron/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cultures of all kinds let children down in Rotherham

The revelations from a year-long inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham serve to highlight issues that are both distressing and important. At the same time, they also emphasise the…
Rotherham Council chief executive Martin Kimber presents a review into abuse in his area. Rotherham Council chief executive Martin Kimber presents a review into abuse in his area. Dave Higgens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Complicity and conspiracy in Rotherham should teach us how to handle future cases

The confirmation that 1,400 children were subjected to sexual exploitation over a 16 year period in Rotherham forms part of a wider picture of similar events. The Catholic Church has still not worked out…
Men and boys' vulnerability to exploitation is just beginning to be understood. Men and boys' vulnerability to exploitation is just beginning to be understood. Reece with a C

How sexual exploitation of men and boys is overlooked and dismissed – new research

Sexual abuse of children has been in the news in recent months; the coverage of a devastating report on the abuse of at least 1,400 children in Rotherham over a number of years, in the face of official…
What is distinctive about the Catholic Church that might have fostered child abuse? What is distinctive about the Catholic Church that might have fostered child abuse? David Goehring

With child abuse, we need to talk about original sin

The statistics attached to the Interim Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse have confirmed what many people suspected – that while child abuse has been widespread…
Mattresses thrown over a playground at the Gran Familia children’s home, Zamora. Mattresses thrown over a playground at the Gran Familia children’s home, Zamora. EPA

Millions of Mexican minors work to survive or risk lives to escape

The recent rescue of 458 children and 138 adults from the Gran Familia refuge in the city of Zamora in the state of Michoacán is another grim illustration of the plight of many unprotected and vulnerable…
Rolf Harris - he entertained for generations, but now what to think of him? Rolf Harris - he entertained for generations, but now what to think of him? AAP/Newzulu/Guy Corbishley

Dealing with the happy memories of a disgraced Rolf Harris

When entertainer Rolf Harris was convicted of 12 cases of indecent assault there was first shock from his many fans in Australia and overseas, then a sense of disbelief that a man who won the hearts of…
Children at “the Home” in Ireland, 1924 (Connaught Tribune, 21st June 1924) Children at “the Home” in Ireland, 1924 (Connaught Tribune, 21st June 1924) @Limerick1914

Mass infant grave in Ireland shocks the world – but Irish government is slow to respond

Yet another horrific story of historic abuse has emerged in Ireland. In what has become a disturbing pattern, it was mostly the international media who reported that the remains of 796 children and babies…
People need to be able to talk about their urges to commit child sexual abuse. People need to be able to talk about their urges to commit child sexual abuse. Fiona Hanson/PA Wire

Breaking the taboo: will we ever really be able to talk about child sexual abuse?

With the media once again full of stories of a celebrity facing accusations of committing historical child sexual abuse, it is important that we keep sight of the risks young people face today and of realistic…
Bless ‘em. (That’s an order.) Bless ‘em. (That’s an order.) The Yorck Project

Modern day ‘Cinderella law’ has roots in Georgian Britain

A newly proposed “Cinderella law” seeks to make parents’ “emotional abuse” of their children a criminal offence in England and Wales. Under it, parents who deliberately ignore children, subject them to…
Harsh immigration policy makes it hard to stop abuse of migrant children. Harsh immigration policy makes it hard to stop abuse of migrant children. Richard Scott/PA

A rethink is needed on how to handle trafficked and migrant children

Over the past few years, policy-makers, academics and practitioners have paid more and more attention to children who are trafficked into and within the UK. But while children are trafficked for various…
The UK’s justice system has failed to protect rape complainants from harm. The UK’s justice system has failed to protect rape complainants from harm. Valerie Everett

Suicides show how justice system fails rape victims

In the space of just over a year, two women in Greater Manchester have killed themselves because of their experiences as complainants in sexual offences cases. The challenge this poses to the criminal…
Dark days at the Vatican. Dark days at the Vatican. Philipp Bohnenstengel

Preventing clerical child abuse goes beyond paedophile priests

The blame game about child abuse in the Catholic Church continues. While the Vatican are to give due consideration to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s demand to remove offenders and hand them…
Is it a moral and legal imperative to give Woody Allen the ‘benefit of the doubt’ in allegations he sexually abused his then-stepdaughter? Is it a moral and legal imperative to give Woody Allen the ‘benefit of the doubt’ in allegations he sexually abused his then-stepdaughter? EPA/Guillaume Horcajuelo

Woody Allen: presumption of innocence no guarantee of justice in sexual abuse

Last week, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter Dylan Farrow published an open letter in The New York Times accusing him of child sexual abuse. These allegations were first aired in the early 1990s in the context…
Children in Australia will not be among those allowed to bring complaints of rights abuses by governments to the UN. Children in Australia will not be among those allowed to bring complaints of rights abuses by governments to the UN. AAP/Lukas Coch

Children and human rights abuses: coming to an international stage?

For the first time, children will soon be able to bring complaints of human rights violations to the United Nations. Although the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child has been in operation since…
Poverty and population growth have driven child exploitation in the Philippines for decades. Poverty and population growth have driven child exploitation in the Philippines for decades. Pat Roque/AP

Philippines webcam child abuse arrests come after decades of exploitation and inequality

Long before the advent of the internet, the Philippines was a prime destination for Western child sex tourists. The US military presence in the country during and following the Vietnam War fuelled a demand…
The court of public opinion: Jimmy Savile’s house, defaced after his crimes were exposed. The court of public opinion: Jimmy Savile’s house, defaced after his crimes were exposed. PA

Notes on a scandal: the Jimmy Savile case is all too familiar

For all its extraordinary impact, the Jimmy Savile scandal has not unfolded in an exceptional way. The media and justice systems' treatment of the affair is only the latest example of a relatively new…
I’ve always thought that Miliband was a bit extreme … I’ve always thought that Miliband was a bit extreme … Anthony Devlin/PA

Blocking extremist sites is not the same as fighting child porn

Fresh from its success calling on search engines to block access to child porn, the UK government is turning its attention to terrorism. Ministers are poised to call on internet service providers to block…
At risk: up to one in four children reports experiencing harm. At risk: up to one in four children reports experiencing harm. j.d. welch

Show us the money if you want better child protection

Michael Gove has taken aim at social workers and called for a major rethink of how they approach their work. According to the education secretary, social workers are often trained to see those they work…
Daniel Pelka suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his parents. Daniel Pelka suffered horrific abuse at the hands of his parents. West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Daniel Pelka death shows how hard child protection can be

The horrific neglect and subsequent death of Daniel Pelka at the hands of his mother and step-father raises a number of questions about safeguarding procedures and practice. We are told teachers were concerned…
The Catholic Church has been reticent about its investigations into child abuse. The Catholic Church has been reticent about its investigations into child abuse. John Shore

Vatican silence on abuse likely to continue despite UN plea

Last week the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) asked the Vatican to disclose details of child sexual abuse cases involving Catholic clergy for the period November 1995 to January 2014. According…
The convictions of Asian sex-grooming gangs have thrown social work into the spotlight. The convictions of Asian sex-grooming gangs have thrown social work into the spotlight. PA/Peter Byrne

Integrated health and social care could help victims of abuse

The conviction of seven men for rape, child prostitution and trafficking in Oxford on Tuesday brings to an end another horrific case of child sexual exploitation. Social services were again in the firing…
Pope Benedict XVI has announced plans to step down on February 28, citing the job’s pressures and his advanced age. Pope Benedict XVI has announced plans to step down on February 28, citing the job’s pressures and his advanced age. Alessandro Di Meo/EPA

Out with God’s rottweiler: the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI

“There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so well deserving examination as the Roman Catholic Church.” So wrote Thomas Babington Macaulay in his review of Leopold von Ranke’s…
Justice Peter McClellan (centre), Chair of the Royal Commission into child sex abuse, delivers a media statement with his fellow commissioners in Sydney. Justice Peter McClellan (centre), Chair of the Royal Commission into child sex abuse, delivers a media statement with his fellow commissioners in Sydney. AAP/Damian Shaw

Child abuse inquiries as catalyst for deep change in the Catholic Church

The awful record of the institutional Catholic church’s leadership in dealing with the scandal of clerical sex abuse of minors has clearly, and rightly, been a trigger for the federal government’s Royal…
Nick Pollard delivers his review on BBC Newsnight’s decision to exclude a report on alleged abuse by the late broadcaster, Jimmy Savile. Nick Pollard delivers his review on BBC Newsnight’s decision to exclude a report on alleged abuse by the late broadcaster, Jimmy Savile. EPA/Chris Radburn

Australian Royal Commission and the Savile investigation: getting the truth out

With the year’s end tantalisingly close, Australia awaits the announcement of the Federal government’s terms of reference for the national Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual…
Children rescued from child sex trafficking in Thailand in 2011. Children rescued from child sex trafficking in Thailand in 2011. AAP/The Grey Man

Fighting child sexual exploitation overseas and at home

Alarm was raised this week when it emerged that Bernard McGrath, a former Catholic brother sought in Australia over 252 child sex charges, was able to leave New Zealand for Sri Lanka ahead of an extradition…
People who were abused as children are more likely to suffer mental health and substance abuse disorders. People who were abused as children are more likely to suffer mental health and substance abuse disorders. Dawn Ashley

Protecting the abused from further trauma during the Royal Commission

There is great support within the community for the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. Many people have high hopes it will right the wrongs of the past and help us, as a nation, to eliminate future…
The Catholic Church’s cover-ups have all the markings of a corrupt organisation. The Catholic Church’s cover-ups have all the markings of a corrupt organisation. AAP/April Fonti

Royal Commission must treat the church like a corrupt police force

The Catholic Church has constructed a white curtain behind which networks of corruption have been allowed to deepen. Professor Patrick Parkinson, a senior lawyer who formally supported the Church’s “Towards…
The report into the Irish Catholic Diocese of Cloyne pointed to dysfunction at the centre of the Catholic Church. The report into the Irish Catholic Diocese of Cloyne pointed to dysfunction at the centre of the Catholic Church. Flickr/William Murphy

Cross to bear: Ireland’s Ryan Commission into child abuse in the Catholic Church

Ireland has undergone a painful purification regarding widespread child sexual and physical abuse in what were once revered institutions of church and state. Since the 1990s, no less than 14 high-powered…
Will help for victims of clergy abuse extend beyond the Royal Commission? Will help for victims of clergy abuse extend beyond the Royal Commission? AAP/Paul Miller

Royal Commission: abuse victims need to be helped, not just heard

There has been a great deal of focus on the role of a Royal Commission in delivering “justice” for victims of sexual abuse. Justice is a powerful, symbolic principle, and being listened to can be a moving…
Convicted sex offender Gerard Ridsdale arrives at court in Ballarat, Victoria in 1994. Convicted sex offender Gerard Ridsdale arrives at court in Ballarat, Victoria in 1994.

Royal Commission into child abuse must have powers to investigate police

The terms of reference of the Gillard Government’s Royal Commission into institutional child abuse are yet to be determined. When the commission was announced, the Prime Minister noted that it would need…
Cardinal George Pell says he will support the Royal Commission into child abuse - but how will we know whether it has been effective or not? Cardinal George Pell says he will support the Royal Commission into child abuse - but how will we know whether it has been effective or not? Paul Miller / AAP

A Royal Commission into child abuse – how do we measure its effectiveness or ‘success’?

Since Monday’s announcement of the creation of a Royal Commission into institutional child abuse there has been some discussion about what this might achieve. In short how will a Royal Commission be different…
Evidence shows sexual abuse is more likely to occur in particular kinds of institutional cultures, such as the Catholic Church. Evidence shows sexual abuse is more likely to occur in particular kinds of institutional cultures, such as the Catholic Church. Roger Smith

Rogue priests or a culture of abuse? Investigating paedophilia in the Catholic Church

For victims and their advocates, the Prime Minister’s announcement of a Royal Commission into the role of institutions in the abuse of children represents a long-awaited shift in the way Australia approaches…
A royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia has been announced. A royal commission into institutionalised sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia has been announced. AAP/Dave Hunt

Royal commissions: how do they work?

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a royal commission into child abuse in churches, schools and foster homes. The inquiry will include, but not be limited to, allegations of abuse in the Catholic…
Cardinal George Pell says there is insufficient evidence to hold a Royal Commission into claims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. Cardinal George Pell says there is insufficient evidence to hold a Royal Commission into claims of sexual abuse by the Catholic Church. AAP/Dean Lewins

Church and state oppose a Royal Commission at the expense of clergy’s victims

Report after damning report is rapidly revealing the dirty secrets of the Catholic Church. As fresh allegations and evidence abound, it seems we have a seismic shift in the battle for justice for victims…
The church must be held to account. The church must be held to account. just.Luc

New revelations of church abuse must bring justice for victims

As the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into child abuse looms, Archbishop Denis Hart and three of his bishops have forewarned their Victorian flock of imminent disturbing reports about past failures of…
Hitting and other forms of harsh physical punishment is associated with mental health problems later in life. Hitting and other forms of harsh physical punishment is associated with mental health problems later in life. Spamily

Parents, it’s never okay to hit your kids

Research published this month in the journal Pediatrics confirms what child advocates have long known: it’s never okay to hit children. Study author Tracie Afifi and her colleagues investigated the link…
Cardinal George Pell has faced questions about what he knew regarding allegations of sexual abuse by priests. Cardinal George Pell has faced questions about what he knew regarding allegations of sexual abuse by priests. AAP/Dean Lewins

George Pell and the requirement for the mandatory reporting of sex predator priests

The ABC’s 4 Corners this week exposed blatant concealment of a priest’s sexual assaults and rapes of children by the Catholic church in NSW. Admissions of guilt were made by the offender and documented…
Offenders such as Gerard Ridsdale, jailed on paedophile charges in 1994, must be exposed. Offenders such as Gerard Ridsdale, jailed on paedophile charges in 1994, must be exposed. AAP/Ballart Courier

Compromised inquiry into church sex crimes disrespects victims

Victorian victims of clergy sex crimes and their families have been fighting for justice for years – some for decades. The previous Labor state government did nothing for them. The Baillieu government…

Research and News (3)

Research Briefs (7)

Childhood abuse linked to adult ADHD

Children who are abused are more likely to suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit…