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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Deflection, denial and disbelief: social and political discourses about child sexual abuse and their influence on institutional responses A rapid evidence assessment

Overlaps of power and belief

1970s – 1990s

Discourses of power and belief had in common the desire to champion ‘children’s voices’, which was another counter discourse that was identified. This discourse emerged as particularly salient during the 1970s to 1990s and highlighted that children were often not heard because of the power differential between adults and children. It emphasised that children’s structural dependency required a clear commitment from adults and institutions to listen to children and to treat them as subjects of their own lives, not as objects of concern. A number of more recent national and international policies and guidance better reflect the idea that children’s voices must be heard on decisions that affect them (HM Government, 2015b; House of Bishops, 2011; Association of Chief Police Officers, 2005; Child Protection in Sport Unit, 2005; HM Government, 2004; Butler-Sloss, 1988).

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