Policing Child Sexual Abuse : Failure, Corruption and Reform in Queensland book cover
1st Edition

Policing Child Sexual Abuse
Failure, Corruption and Reform in Queensland

ISBN 9781032034225
Published September 16, 2021 by Routledge
198 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Policing Child Sexual Abuse provides a historical overview of the evolution of policing child sexual abuse in Queensland, tracing a legacy of failure (even corruption) in the decades leading up to the foundation of Task Force Argos, a branch of the Queensland Police Service created in part as a response to criticisms of police shortcomings in this area.

The book uses archival material as a foundation to trace the shifting approach to policing child sexual abuse (CSA) from the 1960s, when juvenile justice first became a central focus of policing in Queensland, to the 2010s, at which point Task Force Argos made international headlines for its primary role in bringing major international CSA offenders like Shannon McCoole, Benjamin "Warhead" Faulkner and Richard Huckle to justice. Examining archival material to pinpoint the reasons that CSA was not dealt with effectively in the past, the book shows that often these reasons were political, unrelated to the policing of CSA at all. Policing Child Sexual Abuse stands as a testament to the victims of CSA who have been failed by the system in the past. In addition, the book acts as a case study of how a police force with such a negative track record in policing this area was able to correct its path and reform its practices, to the point that it could emerge as a world leader in policing CSA. Though nominally focused on policing in one Australian state, the implications are global, with Task Force Argos’s work naturally impacting on the CSA investigations of all of its partner agencies, both in Australia and internationally.

Demonstrating how, even in contexts where police responses to CSA have been met with significant criticism, an opportunity still exists to reject historical failures in favour of a renewed commitment to proactive policing, this book will be of great interest to scholars of policing, historical criminology, and child sexual abuse.

Table of Contents


1. Care and control

2. Records of abuse

3. A human wrecking ball

4. The receipts

5. Shot down in a BLAZE

6. Déjà vu

7. A predator’s playground

8. Bring in Mr Big

9. The many eyes of Argos

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Paul Bleakley is a Lecturer in Criminology at Middlesex University, London. His research focuses on policing, with a particular emphasis on historical police corruption and reform.