Violating children’s rights: The psychological impact of sexual abuse in childhood

Professor Jill Astbury MAPS, College of Arts, Victoria University

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All forms of child sexual abuse (CSA) are a profound violation of the human rights of children. CSA is a crime under Australian law and an extreme transgression of trust, duty of care and power by perpetrators. The rights violations that define CSA are critically connected to the deleterious behavioural and psychological health consequences that ensue. This article examines the long-term effects of CSA on mental health and the determinants of these outcomes, in order to identify opportunities to ameliorate the profound psychological impacts of CSA on the lives of many victims/survivors. The article is based on a literature review commissioned to inform the APS response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which was established in 2013 by the Gillard Government.

Prevalence of child sexual abuse

Rates of CSA are difficult to gauge accurately given the clandestine, sensitive and criminal nature of the sexual abuse to which children are exposed. Perpetrators of CSA are often close to the victim, such as fathers, uncles, teachers, caregivers and other trusted members of the community (Finkelhor, Hammer & Sedlak, 2008). CSA often goes undisclosed and unreported to professionals or adults for many complex reasons, including fear of punishment and retaliation by the perpetrator, as well as the stigma and shame associated with this type of abuse (Priebe & Svedin, 2008).

A global meta-analysis of child sexual abuse prevalence figures found self-reported CSA ranged from 164-197 in every 1,000 girls and 66-88 per 1,000 boys (Stoltenborgh, van Ijzendoorn, Euser, & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 2011). In Australia, Fleming (1997) used a community sample of 710 women randomly selected from the Australian electoral roll and found that 20 per cent of the sample reported experiencing CSA involving contact. Another national survey involving both men and women (Najman, Dunne, Purdie, Boyle, & Coxeter, 2005) reported a higher prevalence of CSA, with more than one third of women and approximately one sixth of men reporting a history of CSA. A more recent study in Victoria (Moore et al., 2010) reported a prevalence rate of 17 per cent for any type of CSA for girls and seven per cent for boys when they took part in the study during adolescence. Both Australian studies involving community samples of women or girls and men or boys indicate that girls are two or more times more likely to experience CSA than boys.

Long-term mental health consequences

A significant body of research has demonstrated that the experience of CSA can exert long-lasting effects on brain development, psychological and social functioning, self-esteem, mental health, personality, sleep, health risk behaviours including substance use, self-harm and life expectancy. CSA often co-occurs with physical and emotional abuse and other negative and stressful childhood experiences that independently predict poor mental and physical health outcomes in adult life.

Nevertheless, the research literature indicates that when other predictors of poor adult mental health are statistically controlled, CSA remains a powerful determinant of psychological disorder in adult life (Kendler et al., 2000). Strong evidence from twin studies indicates that a causal relationship exists between CSA and subsequent mental disorders. Twin studies necessarily control for genetic and family environment factors and a number since 2000 have documented significant associations between CSA, depression, panic disorder, alcohol abuse/dependence, drug abuse/dependence, suicide attempts and completed suicides.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies published between 1980 and 2008 (Chen et al., 2010) found that a history of sexual abuse including child sexual abuse was related to significantly increased odds of a lifetime diagnosis of several different psychiatric disorders, including anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sleep disorders and suicide. A particularly strong link between CSA and subsequent PTSD has been found.

Although the diagnosis of PTSD may be appropriate for those who have been exposed to relatively circumscribed CSA, Herman (1992) argued more than two decades ago that this diagnosis does not adequately capture the psychological responses of people who are repeatedly traumatised over a long period of time, experience subsequent re-victimisation in adolescence or adult life and typically display multiple symptoms of psychological distress and high levels of psychiatric co-morbidity. For survivors of this kind of CSA, Herman (1992) proposed the expanded diagnostic concept of complex PTSD on the grounds that it was better able to accurately capture the complex psychological sequelae of prolonged, repeated trauma.

Risk of suicide: Australian research

Survivors of CSA face a significantly increased risk of suicide and a higher prevalence of suicide attempts and ideation. An Australian follow-up study (Plunkett et al., 2001) of young people who had experienced CSA compared with those who had not, reported that those with a CSA history had a suicide rate 10.7-13.0 times the national rate. Furthermore, 32 per cent of those sexually abused as children had attempted suicide and 43 per cent had thought about suicide. None of the non-abused participants had completed suicide.

A more recent Australian study confirms and extends this finding. Cutajar and colleagues (2010) conducted a cohort study of 2,759 victims of CSA by linking forensic records from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine between 1964 and 1995 to coronial records up to 44 years later. They found that female sexual abuse victims had 40 times higher risk of suicide and 88 times higher risk of fatal overdose than the rates in the general population. Interestingly these rates were even higher than those for males, in contrast to the usual gender pattern for suicide. The respective rates for males were 14 times and 38 times higher than those in the general population.

Determinants of long-term mental health outcomes

While victims/survivors of CSA face greatly increased risks of poor mental health in adult life, a significant minority do not go on to develop psychological disorders (Saunders, Kilpatrick, Hanson, Resnick, & Walker, 1999). Broadly, two approaches to explaining this finding have informed research: differences in the nature of the abuse that has taken place; and post-abuse factors that positively mediate or intervene in the development of negative long-term mental health outcomes.

Nature of the sexual abuse

The likelihood of experiencing severe, negative mental health outcomes in adult life as the result of CSA is increased by several abuse-specific characteristics. Large scale epidemiological studies have consistently documented that forced penetrative sex, multiple perpetrators, abuse by a relative, and a long duration of CSA (e.g., more than a year) predict more severe psychiatric disturbance and a higher likelihood of being an in-patient in a psychiatric facility in adult life.

More than 20 years ago, Pribor and Dinwiddie (1992) investigated different types of CSA of increasing severity and found that incest victims had a significantly increased lifetime prevalence rate for seven psychological disorders including agoraphobia, alcohol abuse or dependence, depression, panic disorder, PTSD, simple phobia and social phobia. Bulik, Prescott and Kendler (2001) also confirmed that a higher risk for the development of psychiatric and substance use disorders was associated with certain characteristics of the abuse, including attempted or completed intercourse, the use of force or threats and abuse by a relative. More severe and chronic abuse which starts at an early age has also been reported to increase the risk of developing symptoms of dissociation.

Post-abuse mediating factors

Certain factors, both negative and positive, are likely to intervene after CSA has taken place and to mediate adult mental health outcomes.

  • Coping strategies
    Specific coping strategies used by survivors can positively or negatively predict long-term psychological outcomes. Overall, positive, constructive coping strategies such as expressing feelings and making efforts to improve the situation are associated with better adjustment (Runtz & Schallow, 1997; Tremblay, Hebert, & Piche, 1999), and negative coping strategies, including engaging in self-destructive or avoidant behaviours, with worse adjustment (Merrill, Thomsen, Sinclair, Gold, & Miller, 2001). However, the coping strategies used by survivors are contingent to some degree on the availability of social or material resources over which children have little or no control.

    In addition, the number of negative or maladaptive coping strategies used is predictive of the likelihood of sexual re-victimisation in adulthood (Filipas & Ullman, 2006). This strongly indicates that the link between CSA, negative coping strategies and adverse adult psychological outcomes is strengthened by sexual re-victimisation. Several studies have confirmed this relationship.
  • Re-victimisation
    CSA is associated with an increased risk of subsequent violent victimisation including intimate partner violence and sexual violence in adolescence and adulthood (see, for example, Classen, Palesh, & Aggarwal, 2005). Sexual re-victimisation involving rape or other types of sexual abuse/assault poses a potent risk for worse psychological health in adult life. A number of studies have confirmed that women who are sexually re-victimised compared with their non-revictimised counterparts have more severe symptoms of psychological distress in adulthood.
  • Social support and reaction to disclosure
    Historically, the role of social support and other societal and cultural factors in determining survivors’ responses to CSA has been under-explored in comparison with the heavy focus on the survivor’s role in responding to sexual trauma. Increased interest in the contribution of social support and other sociocultural factors has prompted increased investigation into the social contextual factors that can mediate adult outcomes following childhood violence, many of which are associated with the reactions to disclosure.

Delay in the disclosure of CSA is linked inevitably with other delays, all of which are harmful to the child. These include delay in putting in place adequate means to protect the child from further victimisation, delay in the child receiving meaningful assistance including necessary psychological and physical health care, and delay in redress and justice for the victim. Without disclosure, negative health outcomes are more likely to proliferate and compound. Conversely, disclosure within one month of sexual assault occurring is associated with a significantly lower risk of subsequent psychosocial difficulties in adult life including lower rates of PTSD and major depressive episodes (Ruggiero et al., 2004).

Yet experiences of disclosure are not uniform and whether they are positive or negative depends on the reactions of the person to whom the CSA is disclosed. Unfortunately, negative reactions to disclosure are common, constitute secondary traumatisation and are associated with poorer adult psychological outcomes (Ullman, 2007). Such reactions include not being believed, being blamed and judged, or punished and not supported, all of which can compound the impact of the original abuse and further increase the risk of psychological distress including increased symptoms of PTSD, particularly when the perpetrator is a relative.

Specific characteristics of disclosure appear to be protective against the development of psychiatric disorders. This finding highlights the importance of social support in concert with effective action by the person in whom the child confides. The degree to which someone is affected is likely to reflect various indicators of the severity of the abuse as well as countervailing protective factors such as the strength of family relationships and the survivor’s self-esteem. One such factor is a warm and supportive relationship with a non-offending parent, which is strongly associated with resilience following CSA and lower levels of abuse-related stress.

Implications for psychological training and practice

The research outlined above shows conclusively that CSA is associated with multiple adverse psychological outcomes, although such outcomes are not inevitable. The identified mediating or intervening factors that increase or decrease the risk of developing psychological disorders as a result of CSA have important implications for psychological training and for the practising psychologists who work with survivors of CSA.

Training on CSA

It is a matter of grave concern that the issue of CSA has been neglected in psychology training. When psychologists lack appropriate knowledge and skills to work with survivors they put both their clients and themselves at risk and can cause unintended harm. Training on CSA is urgently needed in psychology programs to disseminate evidence to students on the protean psychological consequences of CSA as well as the skills necessary to carry out the demanding mental and emotional work of treating survivors. Survivors can have chronic, complex problems in many areas of functioning and psychological disorders can overlap with physical health problems, including pain syndromes and high risk health behaviours such as alcohol, tobacco and drug use. Careful long-term psychological care is often necessary. As survivors may seek help from a range of psychologists, it is important that all psychologists are educated about the magnitude and psychological consequences of CSA.

Apart from acquiring more in-depth knowledge of the emotional effects of CSA and experience in trauma-related interventions, postgraduate courses should prepare practitioners for how exposure to their clients’ traumatic material can traumatise them as well. To remain psychologically healthy while working with survivors of CSA, psychologists need to be able to recognise symptoms of secondary traumatic stress and develop self-care strategies and support systems that will help them to manage the stress related to working with CSA survivors.

Most practising psychologists today who work with survivors have acquired their knowledge and skills ‘on the job’ post-graduation or as a result of their own initiative by attending workshops delivered by specialists in the field. An unknown number of registered psychologists may have no training on CSA and a more systematic continuing education program should be available and accessible so that all psychologists are equipped, at the very least, to ‘do no harm’ to the clients who have experienced CSA.

Implications for psychological practice

Knowing how to facilitate disclosure and take a comprehensive trauma history is an essential first step in developing a treatment plan for survivors of CSA. How a psychologist responds to a client’s disclosure will have an enormous impact on whether a survivor continues or abruptly terminates treatment. Any hint of disbelief, blame or judgment is likely to fracture the client’s fragile hope that she or he will be believed and that it is safe to undertake the painful task of working through the original abuse and its aftermath. If the response to a disclosure is negative it may be years before a survivor is willing to try again, and in the meantime the psychological burden of the abuse and its effects can proliferate. The effort to remain silent and keep the abuse hidden is extremely isolating and cuts off access to potential avenues of psychosocial support.

It would be a mistake for psychologists to assume, for example, that knowing about prolonged exposure therapy for the treatment of PTSD, would, by itself, be sufficient to offer effective treatment to survivors. Beyond the symptoms of traumatic stress associated with CSA, survivors often struggle with many other pressing concerns. These often relate to the deep betrayal of trust by the adult/s with a duty of care towards them as children. This betrayal can prompt persistent negative self-perceptions, difficulties in trusting others and their own judgement, and abiding feelings of shame and intrinsic ‘unloveability’ that contribute to insecure, unsatisfying relationships in adult life. These same issues can impinge on the client-psychologist interaction, making it challenging to establish a robust therapeutic alliance or maintain appropriate boundaries.

CSA does not result in a single disorder such as depression, treatable within the 10 sessions supported under the Better Access to Mental Health Care initiative. The chronicity and complexity of the disorders stemming from CSA require much longer term mental health care. The current system under Medicare is very poorly suited to meeting the mental health care needs of perhaps the most numerous and psychologically vulnerable group in society – CSA survivors.

Conclusion

The Royal Commission has provided a timely opportunity to closely examine the enduring, deleterious and multi-faceted impacts of CSA on survivors, how institutions in which abuse took place failed to intervene and the kind of assistance survivors believe will be most helpful in healing from their traumatic experiences. Psychology has much to contribute to this process and to ensure that the best available psychological evidence is put forward to address the profoundly disturbing phenomenon of child sexual abuse.

Clergy-perpetrated child sexual abuseIn contrast with the large evidence base amassed since the 1980s on the prevalence and health consequences of CSA occurring in the general community, minimal research was published before 2000 on CSA perpetrated by clergy or others working for institutions or organisations, and evidence remains limited in scope.There is an additional theological and spiritual dimension to clergy-perpetrated abuse that sets it apart other forms of CSA, including a spiritual and religious crisis during and after the abuse (Farrell & Taylor, 2000). CSA perpetrated by priests and other members of the clergy has been described as “a unique betrayal” (Guido, 2008) and the “ultimate deception” (Cook, 2005), and the implications of such abuse for victims are eloquently described by McMackin, Keane and Kline (2008):The sexual exploitation of a child by one who has been privileged, even anointed, as a representative of God is a sinister assault on that person’s psychosocial and spiritual well-being. The impact of such a violent betrayal is amplified when the perpetrator is sheltered and supported by a larger religious community. (p.198)Psychological consequences of clergy-perpetrated child sexual abuseClergy-perpetrated sexual abuse of children can catastrophically alter the trajectory of victims’ psychosocial, sexual and spiritual development (Fogler et al., 2008). In the US, investigation into the Catholic Church by the John Jay Research Team repeatedly identified certain psychological effects of clergy CSA in the personal testimony of survivors and family members. These included major symptoms of PTSD with co-occurring substance abuse, affective lability, relational conflicts, and a profound alteration in individual spirituality and religious practices associated with a deep sense of betrayal by the individual perpetrator and the church more broadly (John Jay College, 2004, 2006; McMackin et al., 2008).Some of these negative psychological outcomes are shared with survivors of CSA in the general population but those related to spirituality, religious practices and a sense of betrayal by the church alter the nature of the harm caused by clergy-perpetrated CSA. While a diagnosis of PTSD may be useful as a starting point in understanding and treating survivors of clergy CSA, Farrell and Taylor (2000) contend that “there are qualitative differences in [clergy-perpetrated CSA] symptomatology, which the PTSD diagnosis cannot explain” (p. 28). Such symptoms include self-blame, guilt, psychosexual disturbances, self-destructive behaviours, substance abuse, and re-victimisation. These symptoms are argued to emanate from the theological, spiritual and existential features of clergy CSA. For these reasons, Farrell and Taylor (2000) suggest that a diagnosis of complex PTSD (Herman, 1992) offers a better fit for the symptoms reported by survivors of clergy-perpetrated CSA.Preventing clergy-perpetrated child sexual abuseThe history of denial, cover up and delays in response to disclosures of clergy CSA by churches has been well documented, with their responses to perpetrators evidencing a failure to implement any effective preventative measures. To stop institutional CSA from occurring, it is critical to understand the situational indicators of such abuse so that the opportunities they afford to perpetrators to commit the crime of CSA can be identified.Parkinson and colleagues (2009) identified that having immediate and convenient access to minors were the defining characteristics that facilitated abuse. The evidence also suggests the need for parents and their children to be made much more aware of the grooming tactics used by clergy who perpetrate CSA. The John Jay College study (2006) identified the strategies that allowed the perpetrators to become close to the child they subsequently abused including being friendly with the victims’ families, giving gifts or other enticements such as taking them to sporting events or letting them drive cars, and spending a lot of time with victims.A recurrent theme in Australian victims’ accounts is how their parents’ religious beliefs and trust and reverence for members of the clergy meant that they could not conceive of the possibility that priests could sexually abuse their children and betray their own vows. Yet there is ample evidence that this trust was sadly misplaced and the same caution that would be applied to other members of society needs to be applied to the clergy.Finally, in tandem with a message from churches that there is zero tolerance for CSA, there needs to be a clear and trustworthy process in place, independent of the churches, that encourages children to disclose CSA safely and confidentially. Educational programs in all schools beginning in primary school might be one way of achieving this.Victims of clergy-perpetrated CSA need to be heard with respect and compassion, given meaningful assistance to meet their psychosocial needs, and provided with justice through those who perpetrated the abuse and those who covered it up being held fully accountable. Only then will it be possible for recovery from the immense trauma of clergy CSA and the rebuilding of shattered lives to truly begin.

The author can be contacted at Jill.Astbury@vu.edu.au

References

  • Parkinson, P., Oates, K. & Jayakody, A. (2009). Study of reported child sexual abuse in the Anglican Church. Submission to the Victorian Inquiry into the handling of child abuse by religious and other organisations.
  • Plunkett, A., O’Toole B., Swanston, H., Oates, R. K., Shrimpton, S. & Parkinson, P. (2001). Suicide risk following child sexual abuse. Ambulatory Paediatrics, 1 (5), 262-266.
  • Pribor, E. F. & Dinwiddie, S. H. (1992). Psychiatric correlates of incest in childhood. American Journal of Psychiatry, 149, 52-56.
  • Priebe, G. & Svedin, C. G. (2008). Child sexual abuse is largely hidden from the adult society: An epidemiological study of adolescents’ disclosures. Child Abuse and Neglect32(12), 1095-108.
  • Ruggiero, K. J., Smith, D. W., Hanson, A., Resnick, H. S., Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Best, C. L. (2004). Is disclosure of childhood rape associated with mental health outcome? Results from the National Women’s Study. Child Maltreatment9, 62-77.
  • Runtz, M. G. & Schallow, J. R. (1997). Social support and coping strategies as mediators of adult adjustment following childhood maltreatment. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21(2), 211-226.
  • Saunders, B. E., Kilpatrick, D. G., Hanson, R. F., Resnick, H. S., & Walker, M. E. (1999). Prevalence, case characteristics, and long-term psychological correlates of child rape among women: A national survey. Child Maltreatment, 4,187-200.
  • Stoltenborgh, M., van Ijzendoorn, M.H., Euser, E. M. & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2011). A Global Perspective on child sexual abuse: Meta-Analysis of prevalence around the world. Child Maltreatment16(2), 79-101.
  • Tremblay, C., Hebert, M. & Piche, C. (1999). Coping strategies and social support as mediators of consequences in child sexual abuse victims. Child Abuse and Neglect, 23, 929–945.
  • Ullman, S. E. (2007). Relationship to perpetrator, disclosure, social reactions, and PTSD symptoms in child sexual abuse survivors. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 16(1), 19-36.
  • Bulik, C. M., Prescott, C. A., & Kendler, K. S. (2001). Features of childhood sexual abuse and the development of psychiatric and substance use disorders. British Journal of Psychiatry179, 444-449.
  • Chen, L. P., Murad, M. H., Paras, M. L., Colberson, K. M., Sattler, A. L., et al. (2010). Sexual abuse and lifetime diagnosis of psychiatric disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85(7), 618-629.
  • Classen, C. C., Palesh, O. G. & Aggarwal, R. (2005). Sexual revictimization: A review of the empirical literature. Trauma, Violence & Abuse, 6(2), 102–129.
  • Cook, L. J. (2005). The ultimate deception: Childhood sexual abuse in the church. Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services. 43(10), 18-24.
  • Cutajar, M. C., Mullen, P. E., Ogloff, J. R. P., Thomas, S. D., Wells, D. L. & Spataro, J. (2010b). Suicide and fatal drug overdose in child sexual abuse victims: A historical cohort study. Medical Journal of Australia, 192(4), 184–187.
  • Farrell, D. P. & Taylor, M. (2000). Silenced by God: An examination of unique characteristics within sexual abuse by the clergy. Counselling Psychology Review, 15, 22-31.
  • Filipas, H. H. & Ullman, S. E. (2006). Child sexual abuse, coping responses, self-blame, PTSD, and adult sexual revictimization. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 21, 652-672.
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  • Fogler, J. M., Shipherd, J.C., Clarke, S., Jensen, J. & Rowe, E. (2008). The impact of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse: the role of gender, development and posttraumatic stress. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 17(3-4), 329-358.
  • Guido, J. (2008). A unique betrayal: Clergy sexual abuse in the context of the Catholic religious tradition. Journal of Child Sexual abuse, 17(3-4), 255-269.
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  • John Jay College. (2004). The nature and scope of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and deacons in the United States, 1950-2000. Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
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  • McMackin, R.A., Keane, T. M. & Kline, P.M. (2008). Introduction to special issue on betrayal and recovery: Understanding the trauma of child sexual abuse. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 17(3-4), 197-200.
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  • Moore, E. E., Romaniuk, H., Olsson, C. A., Jayasinghe, Y., Carlin, J. B. & Patton, G. C. (2010). The prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and adolescent unwanted sexual contact among boys and girls living in Victoria, Australia. Child Abuse and Neglect, 34 (5), 379-385.
  • Najman, J. M., Dunne, M. P., Purdie, D. M., Boyle, F. M. & Coxeter, P. D. (2005). Sexual abuse in childhood and sexual dysfunction in adulthood: An Australian population based study. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 34, 517-526.

Disclaimer: Published in InPsych on October 2013. The APS aims to ensure that information published in InPsych is current and accurate at the time of publication. Changes after publication may affect the accuracy of this information. Readers are responsible for ascertaining the currency and completeness of information they rely on, which is particularly important for government initiatives, legislation or best-practice principles which are open to amendment. The information provided in InPsych does not replace obtaining appropriate professional and/or legal advice.OCTOBER 2013 | ISSUE INDEXThe sexual abuse of children


RETRIEVED https://www.psychology.org.au/inpsych/2013/october/astbury/

Suffering under Old Collegians Association (OCA)

Previous Chairs Paul Gray (BBC) & Jacqueline McPherson (PMSA)

Another of the deceptive layers of upper class over lower classes, continues in the multiple levels/layers involved. Although there is now greater ‘openness and transparency’, our highest levels abruptly exit. Even though OCA Scholarship’s/Bursary’s are no longer offered to those from low-SES (socio economic status) backgrounds, ongoing impacts of past CSA effects lives.

Hopes continue, that these effects can eventually be resolved.

‘Free-balls’, until 2002?

Until 2001/2 there appears to have been no Government controls over most Private Schools. Known as “Accreditation of Non-State Schools”, until the introduction of the 2006 Act, all that appears to be available was the ‘Education (General Provisions) Act 1989 (Qld)’. Memories of Buchanan and Bradley seemingly rubbing the noses of their victims, in BBC’s non-inclusions of the 1989 Act were experienced by many. Each of these Victims do have NRS Compensation-Support-Apologies available to them (minimum).

Of particular note in Qld Gov’s Objectives of the 2017 version: “to maintain public confidence in the operation of non-State Schools”. How much does this seem defensive, of the decades + decades of abhorrent ‘kiddie-fiddling’ which ran riot in our ‘Elite Schools of Excellence’?


The following processes, must now be provided to all students:

  • a. the reporting, by a student to a stated staff member, of behaviour of another staff member that the student considered inappropriate
  • how the information reported must be dealt with
  • the reporting, by a staff member to the School’s Principal, of harm of which the staff member is aware, or the staff member reasonably suspects to have been caused to a student under 18 years
  • the reporting of harm or suspected harm by the Principal to a relevant State Authority.

Available via LIBRARY (pdf) …

CARC. (2017). Case Study 34: INQUIRY INTO THE EXPERIENCE OF BRISBANE GRAMMAR SCHOOL AND ST PAUL’S SCHOOL IN QUEENSLAND.

Education (General Provisions) Act 1989. Queensland Parliament. The Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.

Education (General Provisions) Act 2006. Queensland Parliament. The Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.

Education (General Provisions) Act 2017. Queensland Parliament. The Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel.


Coronavirus COVID-19: Why some people panic-buy and self-isolate while others aren’t worried

ABC Life / By Kellie Scott
We’re being told not to touch our face, but many of you might feel like hiding from the coronavirus.(Pexels: Anna Shvets/ABC Life: Luke Tribe)

Natalie has decided not to see her partner while the spread of the coronavirus in Australia continues.

The Mackay local in her 30s is symptom-free and has not had any known contact with an infected person, but is keeping her daughter home from school. She’s also stocked up on food and other supplies.

“My partner and I have different views … he isn’t taking the coronavirus seriously,” she says.

“We are not leaving the house, and because he is out there exposing himself in many ways, like going to the gym, I have had to make the choice not to have contact with the person I love.”

Natalie works from home, which it makes it easier for her to self-isolate. She’s asked her daughter’s school to provide homework, and plans to reassess the situation in a few weeks’ time.

“It’s putting a little strain on our relationship, but we’re trying to respect each other’s decisions and wait it out.”

As humans we all react to crisis differently, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever be in complete agreeance about an appropriate emotional response to the coronavirus pandemic.

What we can do is be more compassionate about where other people are coming from.

We asked the experts why are some of us stocking up on toilet paper and hand sanitiser, while others scroll social media wondering what the all the fuss is about.

How is coronavirus impacting your relationships with family and friends? Email life@abc.net.au

It begins with how risk-averse you are

People in Australia are generally in a strong position to fight coronavirus due to our population size, health outcomes and good diet.

If you are at greater risk, such as you are over 65 or have pre-existing conditions like heart disease, it’s reasonable to take extra precautions.

Toilet paper panic – On my regular trip to the supermarket yesterday, there was not a single roll of toilet paper to be found.

For most of us, our emotional response will largely come down to how risk-averse we are, explains David Savage, associate professor of behavioural economics at the University of Newcastle.

“On one end you have the people who are absolutely risk-averse; will go out of their way to avoid risk. These people will always have insurance even for the most bizarre things,” he says.

“They are the people panic-buying.

“At the other end you have what I would classify as risk-seeking people, otherwise known as teenage boys.”

What Dr Savage suggests we should all be aiming for is to be risk-neutral. Good at weighing up odds and responding accordingly.

But he acknowledges that can be difficult given how hard-wired risk aversion is for many of us.

“This aversion is not something we switch on and off, it’s part of our innate nature.”

He says telling people to be less risk-averse is like telling someone to stop being anxious.

Avoidance versus chaos

Your personality type will dictate what level of response you have to something like the spread of coronavirus, explains Dr Annie Cantwell-Bart, a psychologist specialising in grief and trauma.

“If, for example, you come from a family where avoidance style is what you’ve been taught, that’s what you will repeat,” she says.

“Or if you come from a fairly chaotic background where your dad has been in jail and mum is an alcoholic, you will hold a high level of anxiety in living anyway.”

She gives the example of her local barista, who is casually employed.

“When I asked how he was feeling, he said he doesn’t think about it, he just gets on with life.”

She says that avoidance style has its advantages and disadvantages.

“They risk not being prepared or cautious enough. He might feel some trauma if the boss of the cafe says we’re closing down for a fortnight, because he hasn’t prepared.”

On the other end of the scale, people might respond chaotically. 

“Like the punch-up in the supermarket. Some people will … get agitated and it’s probably a fear the world will somehow not support them in any way,” Dr Cantwell-Bart says.

We should be more sensitive towards people with this level of anxiety, she says.

“It’s really important not to judge people … they are in a highly aroused anxious state.”

What we’ve been through shapes our response

Coronavirus symptoms explained — what happens when you get COVID-19 and how likely is a full recovery?

Upbringing, cultural background and previous experiences all shape how we respond to difficult situations.

But it doesn’t always play out in ways you’d expect. For example, someone who has survived a similar incident previously may feel a false sense of security, rather than the need to be cautious or prepared.

Your beliefs may also cause you to underprepare.

“If you believe that everything is pre-ordained, and a higher power is directing your life, you may not bother with certain precautions,” Dr Savage says.

Having compassion and understanding

Dr Savage says Australians are living in a society that is becoming more individualist than collectivist.

“Half of us are going ‘that is very anti-social’, while the other half is saying ‘good on you’,” he says in regards to people stocking up on supplies.

Dr Cantwell-Bart says in a time of crisis, it’s important to be respectful and tolerant.

“It’s about being more compassionate. Understanding that people who might be behaving in ways we might not, are doing it for good reason.”

Dr Savage recommends taking a step back to remember we’re all different, and there isn’t always right and wrong.

“Take a little bit more time to say ‘I don’t understand what that person is doing, but is that a problem?'”

RETRIEVED https://www.abc.net.au/life/why-coronavirus-covid19-causes-people-to-react-in-differently/12046602

Institutions Who Haven’t Signed For Redress Will Be Stripped of Charity Status

Peter Kelso | National Redress Scheme | Feb 19, 2020


Image source: Clan

Government will strip the charity status from churches who miss the National Redress Scheme deadline

Minister for Families and Social Services, Ms Anne Ruston says the government may strip charity status from churches and organisations that fail to sign up to the National Redress Scheme.

They will also lose tax exemption status.

Senator Ruston said the government had accepted “every recommendation that we are able to accept” in its response to the standing committee’s recommendations for the Scheme it returned on Monday, and that it should be announced publicly within 48 hours.

She also said about 700 victims’ applications have had to be put on hold because there is no organisation signed up to match them with. Many organisations (such as Swimming Australia) aren’t signing up due to fears of becoming bankrupt.

One major group which has not signed up to the Redress Scheme is the Jehovah’s Witnesses (the JW’s). The Royal Commission heard that 1,006 plausible complaints of child sexual abuse had been received by the JW’s in Australia but no alleged perpetrators had been reported to the police. It appears that the JW’s would have a substantial financial exposure if it joined the Scheme.

Alternatively, the JW’s may be stripped of its charity status if it fails to sign up by the 30 June 2020 deadline.

The JW’s have refused to remove sex offenders from congregations unless the victim can produce a second witness. The organisation was criticized for its ‘Second Witness Rule’ by the Royal Commission.

The JW’s global operations are controlled by a Governing Body of eight men from JW headquarters in Warwick, New York State, USA. The decision to join or not to join the Redress Scheme is the responsibility of the US Governing Body.

JW’s have a history of distrust of the government, refusing to vote and avoiding military service. They are banned in China, Russia, Singapore and most Muslim majority countries. They are most active in the USA, Mexico and Brazil. JW’s were once banned in Canada.

On the other hand, Hillsong Church and the leading Pentecostal umbrella group, Australian Christian Churches, have all signed up to the National Redress Scheme. (Hillsong Church is now a separate legal entity from ACC).

The addition of non-government institutions, including Hillsong Church, Australian Christian Churches (ACC), C3 Churches, Churches of Christ, Baptists, Christian Schools Australia and Barnardo’s Australia, has more than doubled the number of non-government groups in the scheme from 67 to 162 in one year.

Get the justice you deserve with Kelso Lawyers. We want to hear your story. Call (02) 4907 4200 or complete the online form before you accept payment from the National Redress Scheme.

RETRIEVED https://kelsolawyers.com/au/institutions-who-havent-signed-for-redress-will-be-stripped-of-charity-status

Spotted similarities: St Kevins, Trinity + BBC

Amongst most of the comments during and after the screening of 4Corners ‘Boys Club’, some past Students and Family of other Private Schools may recognise similarities. Beyond each school’s personal reputation and heritage, many strive to have common traits ingrained into their students. Whether this be for academic-sporting-cultural benefit, sometimes included is acceptance of behaviours found unacceptable in aged maturity. This is where the prevalence of ‘developing teenagers’ (pre-adolescents) are often targeted by Grooming, Personal-Training/Coaching and Private-Reversals.

Younger children follow patterns of secrecy, imposed by Predators

How much has already been hidden, by non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) / payments of ‘hush money’ / Deed of releases? To what extent will some of these occasions be acting against the intentions of the Letters Patent of the 2013-17 Royal Commission? Oh what a tangled web has been woven, through all of these attempts at Justice.

CARC Final Report

To anyone effected by these ongoing CSA matters, help is available to all:

  • Redress +/or Personal Settlements;
  • Public apology;
  • Counselling.

Further information is available, including suggestions from other bodies. Surviving-victims should never be alone, which is motivation to force along these RCbbc Blog’s. It is hoped that similar support groups, from about other communities (e.g. St Kevins) could share a similar passion.

PMSA_Historical_Abuse_Redress_Policy.pdf

Updated URL, PMSA Historical Abuse Redress Policy

https://pmsa-schools.edu.au/files/PMSA_Historical_Abuse_Redress_Policy.pdf

Wider effects of CSA …

Despite the gradual acceptance that children are not of blame, rather the victim of the horrendous CSA events, often in Institutions of immense deception the (‘responsible’) adults are trained en-masse to deflect + defend the reputation of their Institutions, often ahead of their own relations’ ‘care and wellbeing’. Unfortunately, it appears that the importance/priority of the same places behind the (hidden) occurrence of most of these CSA Events are actually practicing what they preach against:

“In his steps, what would Jesus do?” – … (see image)

This is where #victimisation steps in as yet another layer of avoidable impacts, which should also be avoided. At an extreme level, is that levels of family of the Abused CSA Survivour add to the ripple-effect by defending their wrongdoing over the often-delayed truthfulness of the CSA victim. Often taking decades (if that) to reveal these CSA occurrences – fear of family/friends, social + institutional exclusion (ostracism) may often outweigh an individual’s chance to become who they could ultimately become. This is but one frequent area, where the determined/brave amongst us are calling out to those who are still in their early phases of resolving their past.

Ganesh, Jesus, Buddha + Confucius (SouthPark) <presumed>

The reuse of the character of ‘Jesus’ has been used, due to the frequency of SM usage. Others that may be relevant, are as provided in the SouthPark cartoon picture above. Each religion/deity share similar ideals, yet differ slightly to the others (often outdoing/replacing earlier ones).

Also related is the wider effect of CSA on Family & Friends, Female Survivors, Male Survivors, Students, Teachers and Workers. These will be dealt with in future postings over 2020 + so forth. Due to RCbbc being initially of male/‘Boys’ relevance, most information has been related that way, yet an increasing amount of conversations + messages have been had with the females (partners, children, sisters + relations) in their lives, offering a wider POV in this growing field. Even Counselling has grown + specialised over the last few decades, from a ‘there-there, we believe you’ to a genuine-scientific-community related Industry. Hats off, to those who are waiting urgently for their Redress/Compensation. We’d be willing to offer our Support, where needed.

Preview of RCbbc eNews #2

Faced With an Ongoing Sexual-Abuse Crisis, What Are Catholic Parents to Do?

“I think it’s different for parents. We have to protect our children. That’s our No. 1 calling in life, and that comes before everything.”​

Julie Black and Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic Mar 17, 2019

As it has been for decades, the Catholic Church is in the midst of a crisis, one whose long reach has traumatized thousands and left one of the world’s oldest institutions struggling to find a way forward. In late February, the Vatican held a high-profile conference on the sexual-abuse crisis—the revelations of decades of abuse, by priests in different parts of the globe, of children, adult seminarians, and nuns. During the conference, Pope Francis called for “concrete” change, though the Atlantic reporter Rachel Donadio wrote that, on the whole, the meeting seemed largely to be a “consciousness-raising exercise,” out of step with the “zero tolerance” that many victims’ advocates in the United States have been demanding for priests who use their power to abuse. It seems the crisis will likely drag on as the Church’s highest authorities continue their slow-moving reckoning.

What is an institutional crisis for the Church is a personal crisis for the faithful. Lay Catholics are left to grapple with what this crisis means for them, their families, and their faith. Parents in particular often feel acutely conflicted. How can they not worry about sending their children to be altar servers after reading about priests taking advantage of altar servers in the past? At the same time, devout parents who deeply love the Church naturally want their children to receive its spiritual benefits. What are they to do?

Some decide that they simply can’t reconcile their faith with decades of abuse and the subsequent cover-ups, or that the best way to protect their kids is to leave the Church. Laura Donovan, 30, says the child-sexual-abuse crisis is the reason she’s parted ways with the Catholic Church. Donovan, a social-media manager based in Los Angeles, had drifted away somewhat from her Catholic upbringing by the time The Boston Globe revealed theextent of the Catholic Church’s cover-up of Boston-area priests’ child abuse in 2002, but when she learned just how widespread the problem was, she says, “ultimately, that’s what made me think, I don’t want to go back to a Catholic church again, and I certainly don’t want to raise my own children in a religion like that.”

The Pennsylvania grand-jury report that revealed 70 years of abuse by more than 300 priests came out in August of last year, around the time Donovan’s first child, a son, was born. After becoming a parent, Donovan felt called back to Christianity and wanted to raise her family in a Church, but she and her husband “made the call not to raise him Catholic.”

“I don’t necessarily think anything would happen to him,” she says. “I mean, it could. But I’m just thinking, What would he think of us if we brought him to that church even after all of this had unfolded? … Let’s say he was raised Catholic, and then he learned about all of that—about the sex abuse worldwide that had been going on for decades and covered up—and then came to us and said, ‘How could you have raised me in that religion?’ I wouldn’t have an answer for him.”

Eventually, Donovan’s son was baptized in the Lutheran Church, and Donovan herself was confirmed as well. Her husband grew up attending a Lutheran church, and when Donovan first attended with him, “I felt really comfortable there,” she says. “It had a lot of elements of what I like about the Catholic Church—it’s old, it’s structured, but it doesn’t have that big scandal, obviously.” Still, she misses some of the Catholic traditions she grew up with: the songs, the rosary beads, the congregational sign of peace, “praying to saints and thinking about angels.” Today, when Donovan prays, she has a hard time not instinctively making the sign of the cross.

It’s difficult to know just how many people have left the Catholic Church as a direct result of the sexual-abuse crisis. But across the United States, the Catholic Church is losing members at a faster rate than any other religion, with more than six former Catholics for every recent convert as of 2015, according to the Pew Research Center. (The second-fastest-declining religion in the United States was mainline Protestantism, with 1.7 former congregants for every new member.) From 2010 to 2016, the percentage of American adults who describe themselves as Catholic dropped from 25.2 percent to 23.5 percent. While it’s unclear whether the abuse crisis is the main reason Catholics are leaving the Church, a 2016 Public Religion Research Institute report found that people who were raised Catholic were more likely than those raised in any other religious tradition to characterize their departure as a direct result of “negative religious treatment of gay and lesbian people” and/or “the clergy sexual-abuse scandal.”

Other Catholic parents, though distressed by the Pennsylvania revelations and earlier reports on the crisis, are committed to the Church.

“It’s not something that changed my day-to-day practice of the faith, and I couldn’t see how it possibly could,” says Kendra Tierney, a 42-year-old writer and stay-at-home mother of nine children, ages 1 to 16 years old. “If you believe that the Catholic Church is the one founded by Jesus Christ, there is nowhere else to go. Jesus asked Peter, ‘Are you going to leave me also?’ and Peter says, ‘To whom shall we go?’ This is how I feel.”

Tierney was raised Catholic and says her faith deepened after she became a mother, when she started to shape her family’s home life around the liturgical year. That was the inspiration for her blog Catholic All Year. She says she wasn’t paying much attention to the news when the 2002 Boston Globe investigation came out, “so for me, the first big punch in the gut was late last summer, when the [Pennsylvania] report came out.”

She sees cases of abuse as “failings of personal holiness,” and rather than “sitting back and saying, ‘This is a terrible thing; this is a threat to my children and my faith,’” she wanted to do something in response to the news. Along with some others in the Catholic community online, Tierney launched a campaign to promote a month-long period of prayer, fasting, and sacrifice, as an act of reparation to God for the sins of abusive priests and the bishops who covered up their actions.

“For the whole month of September, our family observed kind of a Lent,” she says. “We gave up all treats, desserts, and sodas, all TV and video games, and we added in a special prayer from a book called In Sinu Jesu, a prayer of reparation for priests. We are all sinners, and if we can each improve as a member of the body of Christ, if I can raise holy sons and daughters, that’s going to help the Church.”

One Catholic father, a 35-year-old in New York City, seems to be feeling torn between raising a holy daughter and protecting her. (This man asked to remain anonymous, because he works for a Catholic organization and worried there could be consequences at his job if he spoke freely about the Church.) He grew up in a Hispanic Catholic family and went to Catholic school for middle and high school, and though he didn’t go to church much in college, he says he grew closer to the Church after he met his wife. “She was much more devout than me,” he says.

The man says he and his wife have not yet discussed how they feel about raising their daughter, now 2, in the Church, in light of the sexual-abuse crisis. “We’ve just been numb,” he says. Plus, with the stresses of parenting a 2-year-old, the family hasn’t had a ton of time to go to church lately anyway. “But I’m not going to deny that part of it is a real distaste for all this news that keeps coming out,” he says.

A couple of days after the Pennsylvania report was released, he posted on a Catholicism subreddit, asking whether it was reasonable to be wary “of priests with very poor social skills or [who] appear awkward?” In the replies, some people chided him, saying that just because someone is awkward doesn’t mean he’s a predator, but the man still feels like he needs to trust his gut if someone seems off to him.

“I think it’s different for parents,” he says. “We have to protect our children. That’s our No. 1 calling in life, and that comes before everything. You’re not worried about the Church or school—you’re allowed to judge and be cautious and not feel guilty about that, because you’re a protector.”

Nonetheless, he still hopes to send his daughter to Catholic school when she’s older, and for the Church to be part of her life in some way, even if he’s still thinking through how exactly to handle it. “[Catholicism] is wrapped up in identity for a lot of Hispanics,” he says. “I want my daughter to find her own way, but there is a place in my heart that still hopes she ends up being part of the faith. There’s a lot of beauty in the Church. Even if you just want to look at Christ as a historical figure, that’s a great model for how people should treat other people.”

Among families who are still part of a Catholic church, some parents have begun to rethink the level of their children’s involvement in the church community. The Catholic dad in New York City, for example, said, “I probably would never feel comfortable with my daughter being alone at a church by herself without parents around.”

In 2018, after the Pennsylvania grand-jury report, Chris Damian, an author and attorney based in the Twin Cities in Minnesota, co-founded YArespond, a group that hosts events for young Catholic adults to get together and discuss the crisis in the Church. At a meeting in August, more than 100 attendees gathered in the basement of a Minneapolis church to express sentiments including worry, disillusionment, anger, and grief. According to Damian’s blog, one attendee said, “There’s no way I would let my child be an altar server.”

It’s an understandable position to take, says Kirby Hoberg, 28, a blogger, actor, and mother of three who helps YArespond organize and host meetings—especially given that, historically, altar servers have spent more time alone with priests than have other children in a congregation. “I hear that a lot, and I see why people would do that,” Hoberg says.

A dose of caution is enough to make some Catholic parents comfortable with their kids being involved in church activities. Chris Mayerle’s 12-year-old son, for instance, not only is an altar server but knows how to serve Mass in Latin, which apparently makes him in quite high demand in their home state of Utah. The Mayerles—Chris, his wife, and their seven children (some of whom are adults)—have moved around a good amount, since Chris was in the Air Force for a time. In each place they’ve lived, they’ve vetted churches and priests—“parish shopping,” as he puts it—before settling down with a congregation.

“We became very, very selective about which priests we would be around, and which priests we would let our children be around,” Mayerle says. “Everywhere we’ve been, we’ve been close to our priests. We have them over for dinner. You can get a sense when things are not quite right with a priest. But we never put our kids in a situation where they’ve been alone with a priest or where they could be compromised.”

The way a priest says Mass, Mayerle believes, is one clue to his personality, and that plays a role in whether or not Mayerle will trust him. At the first church the family went to in Utah, “the priest just skipped over major parts of the Mass,” he says. “That was off-putting to us. One of the things we look for is when they do things the way they’re supposed to. In other words, they’re obedient—it means they’re probably obedient to their vows also. When they just start winging it, it means they view themselves as their own authority, which I don’t think is healthy.”

Of course, many Catholic parents, while dismayed by how the scandal reflects on the Church as an institution, still trust their own parishes and priests. They say their churches have routine audits, training for adult volunteers, and policies that prohibit priests from being alone with children. Some Catholic parents we spoke to mentioned that their priests openly discuss the issue and share in their grief, and that the leaders in their churches seem willing to engage with parishioners in discussions on how to make Catholic churches safer places. Others emphasize that they believe the vast majority of priests are morally sound leaders, and that only a small portion have been accused of inappropriate conduct.

But perhaps the biggest change from earlier eras, when some of the abuse described in the Boston and Pennsylvania reports occurred, is that for some of today’s Catholic families, priests are not put on a pedestal. Several parents we spoke to for this piece said there is less of a sense among Catholics today than in decades past that priests are infallible, or more incorruptible than the average person. And so they teach their kids to be wary of inappropriate behavior from all grown-ups—priests and other spiritual leaders included.

“You want your kids to have respect for people in positions of authority, but perhaps overemphasized respect for the clergy allowed this culture of abuse to last in the shadows as long as it did,” Tierney says. “They’re not superheroes; they are humans. We are all capable of sin, and that’s the conversation I’ve had with my kids. You trust your gut, and if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”

“It’s not that I would treat my priest differently from the way I would another grown-up, but I am very, very cautious about leaving my children alone with anyone,” says Haley Stewart, the writer behind the Catholic blog Carrots for Michaelmas and a 33-year-old mother of four in Waco, Texas. Her children are seven months, 5, 7, and 10, and she says she has talked about bodily autonomy with them from a young age.

“We start really young by teaching our kids the anatomical names of their body parts, saying, ‘This part of your body is not for anyone else to touch,’” she says. “It doesn’t have to be a big scary conversation with a small child. Also impressing upon them that if someone ever does something to your body that you did not like, that is not your fault, and you need to tell Mom and Dad so we can make sure you are safe from that person.”

Kirby Hoberg has noticed that the younger Catholic parents she knows seem angrier about the recent wave of sexual-abuse revelations than do older parents she knows who were adults during the first phase of the crisis, in 2002. “I think I was turning 12 when the news started to break … We watched things like the Dallas Charter [come into effect] and really believed that things were being taken care of,” she says. “I’m noticing a lot of people older than me [seem to feel] very helpless. Like, ‘We tried once, and now it’s gone.’”

Hoberg expects that Catholic parents of her generation will be reckoning with the aftereffects of the sexual-abuse crisis for years to come. “It’s going to be a long road,” she says. “The kids aren’t going away, and these questions are only going to get harder [as they get older].”

She’s uncertain, she adds, about how she might handle a future in which her son decides he wants to go to seminary—a sentiment that Chris Mayerle, the Utah dad whose son is an altar server, echoes. His son has expressed interest in becoming a priest, and if he were to follow through, Mayerle says, “we’d be excited, in all honesty. The Church is in great need of renewal, and it’s gotta start somewhere. But whatever seminary he wanted to go to, we would vet very closely.”

RETRIEVED: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/03/catholic-church-abuse-crisis-how-parents-are-grappling/584866/