Criminalising Institutional Failures to Prevent, Identify or React to Child Sexual Abuse
Although there is increasing academic recognition of corporations as criminogenic, the criminal legal system has demonstrated difficulties in conceptualising corporate culpability. The current Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse provides ample evidence of why organisations can and should be criminalised for systemic failures. I demonstrate that the emphasis upon individualistic subjective culpability by the criminal legal system does not adequately encapsulate the institutional failings detailed before the Royal Commission. Whilst mandatory reporting offences are important, these offences do not adequately respond to the kinds of organisational failings identified by the Royal Commission. I argue in favour of developing a new institutional offence constructed upon realist concepts of negligence and/or corporate culture that recognises that organisations are capable of wrongdoing and sufficiently blameworthy to justify the imposition of criminal sanctions. I conclude by arguing that the expressive role of criminal law justifies and requires the criminalisation of this kind of organisational wrongdoing.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).