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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

Limitations of the evidence base

There are a number of limitations that are important to note when considering the findings presented here. First, it was difficult to draw conclusions about causal relationships between discourses and institutional responses within the parameters of an REA as it was hard to ascertain what individual practitioners, specific groups of professionals or organisations understood about child sexual abuse and what their thinking would have been at particular points in time. Where it has been possible to trace and track influences, this is discussed with reference to specific discourses.

In addition, an REA can only capture what has been discussed in the (searchable) literature. Materials relating to child sexual abuse during the 1940s to the late 1980s were harder to identify compared to later periods. There was also more literature on certain sectors and institutions (for example, social work) than others (for example, education).

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