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International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy

Identity, Forgiveness and Power in the Management of Child Sexual Abuse by Personnel in Christian Institutions


The ongoing crises of child sexual abuse by Christian institutions leaders across the Anglophone world continue to attract public attention and public inquiries. The pervasiveness of this issue lends credence to the argument that the prevailing ethos functioning within some Christian Institutions is one which exercises influence to repeatedly mismanage allegations of child sexual abuse by Church leaders. This work draws on semi-structured interviews conducted with 15 Personnel in Christian Institutions (PICIs) in Australia who were identified as being pro-active in their approach to addressing child sexual abuse by PICIs. From these data, themes of power and forgiveness are explored through a Foucaultian conceptualising of pastoral power and ‘truth’ construction. Forgiveness is viewed as a discourse which can have the power effect of either silencing or empowering victim/survivors. The study concludes that individual PICIs’ understandings of the role of power in their praxis influences outcomes from the deployment of forgiveness.

Pages:82 to 97
Section: Articles


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Author Biography

Queensland University of Technology
Australia Australia


School of Justice, Faculty of Law

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2202-8005