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Catholic Church responses to clergy‐child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting exemptions in Victoria, Australia: A discursive critique

Citation

Guerzoni, MA and Graham, H, Catholic Church responses to clergy‐child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting exemptions in Victoria, Australia: A discursive critique, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 4, (4) pp. 58-75. ISSN 2202-8005 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2015 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

DOI: doi:10.5204/ijcjsd.v4i4.205

Abstract

This article presents empirical findings from a critical discourse analysis of institutional responses by the Catholic Church to clergy‐child sexual abuse in Victoria, Australia. A sample of 28 documents, comprising 1,394 pages, is analysed in the context of the 2012‐2013 Victorian Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Organisations. Sykes and Matzaís (1957) and Cohenís (1993) techniques of, respectively, neutralisation and denial are used to reveal the Catholic Churchís Janus‐faced responses to clergy‐child sexual abuse and mandatory reporting requirements. Paradoxical tensions are observed between Catholic Canonical law and clerical practices, and the extent of compliance with secular law and referral of allegations to authorities. Concerns centre on Church secrecy, clerical defences of the confessional in justification of inaction, and the Melbourne Response compensation scheme. Our research findings underscore the need for greater Church transparency and accountability; we advocate for mandatory reporting law reform and institutional reform, including adjustments to the confessional ritual.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Catholic Church; child sexual abuse; neutralisation
Research Division:Studies in Human Society
Research Group:Criminology
Research Field:Criminology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the Law
Objective Field:Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
Author:Guerzoni, MA (Mr Michael Guerzoni)
ID Code:105473
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Social Sciences
Deposited On:2016-01-05
Last Modified:2016-09-19
Downloads:19 View Download Statistics

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