Reporting child sexual abuse within religious settings: challenges and future directions

Harper, C.A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3172-0129 and Perkins, C., 2018. Reporting child sexual abuse within religious settings: challenges and future directions. Child Abuse Review, 27 (1), pp. 30-41. ISSN 0952-9136

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The sexual abuse of children within religious settings is an issue that has gained increased popular and professional attention over the past two decades. Various reports have highlighted the scale of such abuse, along with shortcomings in reporting practices. In this article, we outline some contemporary research that sought to understand the psychology that underpins variable reporting practices. In line with this research, we set out two conceptual frameworks that have some potential to help to explain such practices: system justification theory and moral foundations theory. Further, we describe how these frameworks could be adopted in research moving forward in order to make sense of the ways in which members of religious groups respond to allegations of child sexual abuse within their institutions. We close the article by arguing that by gaining a deeper understanding of the psychology underlying reporting practices, it may be possible to communicate more effectively about child sexual abuse within religious institutions, and therefore encourage more widespread reporting of allegations before more children are harmed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Child Abuse Review
Creators: Harper, C.A. and Perkins, C.
Publisher: John Wiley
Date: January 2018
Volume: 27
Number: 1
ISSN: 0952-9136
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 07 Mar 2018 09:59
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2019 03:00

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