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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


An REA method was used to identify and synthesise existing literature relating to the overarching aim above. This report is not a discourse analysis. Rather, it provides a descriptive and thematic analysis of the literature reviewed, and an exploration of whether links can be made with the institutional responses documented in the literature.

Three types of literature were searched and reviewed:

  • Published literature which generated and/or employed discourses and secondary research that discussed the use of discourses by others (237 texts)
  • A sample of serious case reviews (68 texts)
  • A sample of national/institutional inquiry reports and guidance (35 texts).

The searches took place in March and April 2017. Texts were included if they were written in English, published between 1940 and 2017, and focused on England or Wales. Some international texts were also included where there was evidence of influence or relevance. Texts were screened for relevance and quality assurance before inclusion. The findings are presented as an integrated analysis of all three literature types.

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