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Allegations of child sexual abuse: An empirical analysis of published judgements from the Family Court of Australia 2012–2019

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dc.contributor.author Webb, N., Moloney, L. J., Smyth, B. M., & Murphy, R. L.
dc.date.accessioned 2021-07-21T18:35:05Z
dc.date.available 2021-07-21T18:35:05Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.citation Webb, N., Moloney, L. J., Smyth, B. M., & Murphy, R. L. (2021). Allegations of child sexual abuse: An empirical analysis of published judgements from the Family Court of Australia 2012–2019. Australian Journal of Social Issues. en_US
dc.identifier.uri https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1002/ajs4.171
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11212/5182
dc.description.abstract Allegations of child sexual abuse pose agonisingly difficult issues for families, family law professionals and the courts. We present data from the population (N=521) of Family Court of Australia judgements containing allegations of child sexual abuse published in the Australasian Legal Information Institute's Australian database. Our data cover all in-scope judgements published between mid-2012 and mid-2019, of which 71 dealt with cases that were uncontested. A further 70 were contested but the allegations were abandoned before the end of the trial. We classified the remaining 380 cases as “fully contested”. Of this group: (a) in 14% of cases, judicial officers expressed a direct or clearly implied belief that the allegations of child sexual abuse were true; (b) risk of sexual harm to a child was found in 12% of judgements; (c) when no risk of sexual harm was found, judges were more than twice as likely to regard the allegations as genuine but mistaken rather than to have been deliberately misleading; (d) just under two-thirds of allegedly unsafe parents had the time they spent with their child(ren) increased by the court; and (e) in 17% of judgements, children's living arrangements were changed to the allegedly unsafe parent. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Australian Journal of Social Issues en_US
dc.subject International Resources en_US
dc.subject Australia en_US
dc.subject family law en_US
dc.subject social policy en_US
dc.subject child sexual abuse en_US
dc.subject child welfare en_US
dc.title Allegations of child sexual abuse: An empirical analysis of published judgements from the Family Court of Australia 2012–2019 en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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