1st Edition

Child Sexual Abuse Reported by Adult Survivors Legal Responses in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia

    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    350 Pages
    by Routledge

    Child Sexual Abuse Reported by Adult Survivors is a wide-ranging and timely critical history and analysis of legal responses to ‘historical’ or ‘non-recent’ child sexual abuse (NRCSA) in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia, each of which represents an evolving and progressive approach to this important and complex issue.

    The book examines the emergence of NRCSA as a distinctive social, political and legal phenomenon in each country and explores the legal responses developed to address its unprecedented challenges. Courts and parliaments in each country have reformed existing doctrine and practice and have created new ways of holding state and private actors accountable and new ways of  addressing survivors’ injuries. Criminal law, tort law, public inquiries and state reparations have all been to the forefront of these new legal responses, which have transformed law’s engagement with NRCSA survivors and understandings of justice itself. However, despite this undeniable progress, the book identifies ways in which the legal responses developed in each country fail to deliver accountability and recognition to NRCSA survivors and argues that such failures betray the law’s inherent ambivalence to delivering justice for these survivors.

    Creating new insights into legal responses to this complex contemporary legal, social and political problem, this book will be of great interest to academic lawyers, political scientists and historians, as well as those working on related topics in criminology, sociology, social policy, cultural studies and gender studies.





    2. ‘The ‘Discovery’ of Non-Recent Child Sexual Abuse in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia.

    3. The Evolution of Legal and Policy Frameworks around Child Sex Offences in England and Wales.

    4. The Evolution of Legal and Policy Frameworks around Child Sex Offences in Ireland.

    5. The Evolution of Legal and Policy Frameworks around Child Sex Offences in Australia.


    6. Introduction to Part II: Legal Responses to Non-Recent Child Sexual Abuse

    7. Criminal Trials

    8. Tort Law: Statutes of Limitations

    9. Tort Law: Organisational Liability

    10. Public Inquiries

    11. State Reparations





    Sinéad Ring is Assistant Professor at the School of Law and Criminology, Maynooth University where she teaches courses on crime, evidence, gender and sexuality and law, and state responses to historical gendered violence. She has published widely on sexual violence and the law, with a particular focus on the legal issues relating to non-recent child sexual abuse.

    Kate Gleeson is Associate Professor of Law at Macquarie University and Chair of Full Stop Australia, which aims to put a full stop to sexual, domestic and family violence.

    Kim Stevenson is Emeritus Professor of Law, Crime and History in the School of Society and Culture at the University of Plymouth. She has published widely on aspects of the criminal law with specialist expertise in the contemporary and historical contexts of the legal regulation and criminalization of sexual behaviour and offending. She is Lead General Editor Routledge SOLON Explorations in Crime and Criminal Justice Histories and Co Founder SOLON Promoting Interdisciplinary Studies in Law, Crime and History.

    "This outstanding analysis of legal responses to non-recent child sexual abuse in Ireland, Australia and England and Wales succeeds brilliantly in contextualising both the problem and the solutions that have so far been adopted. A truly original contribution to criminal justice scholarship." -Tom O’Malley, S.C., Law School, NUI Galway

    "This book offers an up-to-date, critical comparative examination of the core problems associated with legal responses to non-recent child sexual abuse (NRCSA) in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia and in particular, those associated with the passage of time. These issues are examined across a range of legal contexts including inquiries, reparations and criminal trials. Part of the focus, and one of the notable strengths of the book, is the grounding in the respective historical contexts and how each country came to acknowledge the prevalence and significance of NRCSA. Wide-ranging in scope, the book greatly benefits from the cross-disciplinary expertise of the authors across law, political science and history. The accessibility and importance of this book will make it a key text for scholars, students, practitioners and activists working in the area of historical abuses and indeed legal responses to sexual violence more broadly." -Anne-Marie McAlinden, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, School of Law, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

    "This book is situated against this broader backdrop and focuses on “nonrecent child sexual abuse” (NRCSA) and legal responses within England and Wales, Ireland and Australia. This book covers a lot of social, legal and political ground across three jurisdictions representing an in-depth, scholarly, comparative examination of a range of legal responses to historical abuses. The authors are to be commended for making considerable inroads into unravelling much of this complexity and for providing a rich and comprehensive analysis of the key challenges within contemporary legal discourses on NRCSA for both specialist and wider audiences. This monograph makes a timely, welcome and substantial contribution to the literature. It is an important text and is likely to remain a key reference point on contextual and legal issues for decades to come." - Feminist Legal Studies, Anne-Marie McAlinden

    "These chapters are well-written precis of the respective socio-legal and sociopolitical contexts, providing the reader with a broad yet informed understanding of the lay of the land. Commentary from the authors is periodically provided throughout these chapters, helpful in guiding the reader to appreciate the significance of the subject matter. This is complemented by the skilfully evaluative discussion at the end of each of the chapters, drawing attention to the limitations of the developments. These chapters are balanced in each opening with concise yet informative overviews of the core concepts and context being discussed before then proceeding to provide a case study of the subject matter in each of the aforementioned jurisdictions. Commendably, these chapters also include recent legal and governmental developments (as late as 2021) and descriptions of their relevance to their specific legal context, as well as responses to child sexual abuse and survivors more broadly. In summary, this book provides a sound, thoughtful and well-researched precis of responses of the law to non-recent child sexual abuse across several jurisdictions. It would be a useful companion to academics and practitioners in this field and an invaluable text for those teaching, studying or researching in this subject area. "- International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, Dr. Michael A. Guerzoni, University of Tasmania

    "This book is a timely addition to a complex and often contested area. It rightly opens by stating that ‘adults seeking justice for the sexual abuse they suffered as children is one of the most important social, political and legal phenomena of the twenty-first century’. The book details not just the current legal and social landscape in terms of how society responds to so-called non-recent abuse allegations, but it also carefully charts the origins of the various systems in place in Ireland, England and Wales, and Australia. The book takes a particular focus on the legal responses in each jurisdiction but pays close attention to the social unrest, high profile cases and historic injustices in each jurisdiction over approximately the last two centuries. This book will be an important addition to practice, policy and research in this ever-evolving space." - Joseph Mooney, University College Dublin, Ireland, Child Abuse Review