Childhood maltreatment and late modernity: Public inquiries, social justice and education

Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA)

Dr Katie Wright

This historical sociological study examines the unfolding Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse alongside past inquiries that either focused explicitly on child maltreatment or included this within their remit. The earlier inquiries that the project is taking a close look at include the Royal Commission on Human Relationships in the 1970s, the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families in the 1990s, and the Senate Inquiries into Child Migration and Children in Institutional 'Care' in the early to mid-2000s.

The project is examining the role of inquiries in social change and policy reform. It is also exploring how changing understandings of children's development, vulnerability and rights have shaped social policy, educational responses and public attitudes towards safeguarding children and promoting their wellbeing. In particular, it is investigating how concepts of childhood and policy approaches are changing as a result of social imperatives for openness and disclosure about matters once considered taboo, particularly child sexual abuse. The project aims to advance conceptual policy insights on a major social issue and sociological insights on childhood and the forms and effects of late modernity.

This project is funded the Australian Research Council, DE140100060, 2014-2017.

Publications

Journal Articles

Wright, K., Sköld, J. and Swain, S. (2018) ‘Examining abusive pasts: Reassessments of institutional violence and care through Commissions of Inquiry’, Traverse: Zeitschrift für Geschichte / Revue d'histoire, 2018/3, 162-178.

Swain, S., Wright, K. & Sköld, J. (2018) Conceptualising and categorising child abuse inquiries: From damage control to foregrounding survivor testimony, Journal of Historical Sociology 31(3): 282-296.

Wright, K., and Swain, S. (2018) Speaking the unspeakable, naming the unnameable: The Child Sexual Abuse Royal Commission, Journal of Australian Studies 42(2): 139-152.

Wright, K. (2018) Challenging institutional denial: Psychological discourse, therapeutic culture and public inquiries. Journal of Australian Studies 42(2): 177-190.

Wright, K., Swain, S. and McPhillips, K. (2017) The Australian Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse & Neglect 74: 1-9.

Wright, K. (2017) Remaking collective knowledge: An analysis of the complex and multiple effects of inquiries into historical institutional child abuse, Child Abuse and Neglect 74: 10-22.

Wright, K. (2017) Inventing the normal child: Psychology, delinquency and the promise of early intervention, History of the Human Sciences 30(5): 46-67.

Wright, K. (2016). Speaking out: Representations of child sexual abuse in media, memoir and public inquiries, Red Feather Journal: An International Journal of Children in Popular Culture 7(2): 17-30.

McLeod, J. & Wright, K. (2016) What does wellbeing do? An approach to defamiliarize keywords in youth studies, Journal of Youth Studies 19(6): 776-792.

Wright, K. (2014). Student wellbeing and the therapeutic turn in education, Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologis, 31(2): 141-152.

K. Wright (2016). Speaking out: Representations of childhood and sexual abuse in the media, memoir and public inquiries. Red Feather Journal: An International Journal of Children in Popular Culture 7(2): 17-30.

Wright, K. (2014). 'Childhood, public inquiries and late modernity'. In Challenging Identities, Institutions and Communities. Refereed Proceedings of the Australian Sociological Association Conference: Adelaide.

Edited Collections

Wright, K., Swain, S. and McPhillips, K. eds. (2018). The Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’. Special Issue of Journal of Australian Studies 42(2): 139-263..

Wright, K., Swain, S. and McPhillips, K. eds.  (2017). The Australian Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Special Issue of Child Abuse & Neglect 74: 1-114.

Online Public Knowledge Resource

Wright, K., Swain, S., and Sköld, J. (2017). The Age of Inquiry: A global mapping of institutional abuse inquiries. Melbourne: La Trobe University.

Presentations

K. Wright (2016). ‘Conceptualising childhood and youth in an age of historical abuse inquiries’, ‘Cities and Successful Societies’, Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association (TASA): Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, 28-30 November.

K. Wright (2016). ‘Narrating the impact of child sexual abuse on adult mental health’, International Sociological Association (ISA) 3rd Forum of Sociology, Vienna, Austria, 10-14 July.

K. Wright (2016). ‘Remembering difficult childhoods: Historical abuse and public inquiries’, The Social, Biological and the Material Child, 6th International Conference of the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth (CSCY), Sheffield, UK, 5-7 July.

J. McLeod & K. Wright (2016) ‘What does wellbeing do? An approach to defamiliarize keywords in youth studies’. Journal of Youth Studies, 19(6): 776-792.

K. Wright (2015). ‘Lifting the Lid: Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission’. Invited presentation to CG Jung Society of Sydney, 14 August.

K. Wright (2015). ‘Child abuse and public inquiries: Tracing the rise of a culture of disclosure’. Shadow of the Past: Theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding historical child abuse and its contemporary relevance, Society for the History of Childhood and Youth (SHCY) Biennial Conference, Vancouver, Canada, 24-26 June.

K. Wright (2014). ‘Child abuse and public inquiries: Historicizing the imperative for openness and disclosure’. Childhood and Abuse in Comparative-Historical Perspective, International Sociological Association (ISA), XVIII World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, 13-19 July.

Contact

For further information about this project, please contact:

Dr Katie Wright
Department of Social Inquiry
La Trobe University
T: +61 3 9479 1009
E: katie.wright@latrobe.edu.au