Deflection, denial and disbelief: social and political discourses about child sexual abuse and their influence on institutional responses

A rapid evidence assessment - Summary report

March 1, 2018


A new report has been published by CWASU as part of our contribution to the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA).

The report identifies key discussions on child sexual abuse in England and Wales from the 1940s to 2017 and how these ideas have influenced the way institutions have responded to it.

The research was undertaken by Jo Lovett, Senior Research Fellow at CWASU, Dr Maddy Coy, former Deputy Director of CWASU and Professor Liz Kelly, Director of CWASU.

The research will inform the ongoing Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse, an independent statutory inquiry covering England and Wales. The Inquiry was set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 and has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence and offers an unprecedented opportunity to examine the extent to which institutions and organisations in England and Wales have taken seriously their responsibility to protect children. The Inquiry is investigating institutional failures rather than individual cases of sexual abuse.

The report can be read in full on the IICSA website, where it can also be downloaded.