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Analysis and Comment (62)

Over half of Australia’s imported goods come from the Asia Pacific, which has 78 million child labourers, including these three in a Bangladesh balloon factory. EPA/Abir Abdhullah

Global supply chains link us all to shame of child and forced labour

The fragmentation of global production has dramatically increased the length and complexity of supply chains. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than…
Foster parents often receive inadequate emotional and financial support. prudkov/Shutterstock

Foster parents need more support to care for vulnerable children

When children are deemed at risk of abuse or neglect and are removed from the family home, they are placed in out-of-home care, either with foster parents, relatives or in residential facilities. The latter…
People with complex trauma appear like they are always anticipating or responding to a threat. file404/Shutterstock

Complex trauma: how abuse and neglect can have life-long effects

Experiencing trauma has significant implications for mental health. We’ve known this for some time but particularly since the early 1970s after observing and studying the effects of war on American servicemen…
Some images are illegal even to see, an online crime scene. mangostock/Shutterstock

When a drawing or cartoon image can land you in jail

A cartoon can land you in court, as happened to a man recently convicted of possessing non-photographic images – cartoons, drawings – of a sexual nature featuring children. Clearly child pornography, more…
Four-year-old Chloe Valentine sustained injuries and died after being made to ride and repeatedly crash her 50-kilogram motorbike. AAP Image/South Australian Supreme Court

Abuse and neglect: Australia’s child protection ‘crisis’

The tragic death of four-year old Chloe Valentine in South Australia has raised concerns that the state’s child protection system is in crisis. Following a history of abuse and neglect, Chloe’s mother…
Children in state care need stability in their home and school life to develop social attachments and a sense of belonging. Wikimedia/Ranveig

Law offers better care for abused children, given enough support

Children who have been taken into state care need timely decisions on whether to separate them from their birth families. Delayed decisions means leaving children who have suffered abuse and neglect in…
Violence that happens behind closed doors and within families is finally being recognised as a crime – not just a “domestic”. Jaybird/Flickr

Violent words, not just deeds, leave a lasting mark on our kids

She showed me the cigarette burns on her arms. Her eyes seemed empty as she slumped in the chair, answering questions with defeated shrugs. Finally she explained that her stepfather had held her down and…
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…
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. 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? 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…
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…
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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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…
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…
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. 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…
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…
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…

Columnists (2)

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…