Mad mothers, over-zealous therapists and the paedophile inquiry
Rogers, N 1998, 'Mad mothers, over-zealous therapists and the paedophile inquiry', paper presented to Crime, criminology and justice : current trends and future directions : 13th Annual Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) Conference, Gold Coast, Qld., 8-10 July.
In my paper I look at the appearance of central tenets of the child sexual abuse backlash movement in the 1997 NSW Royal Commission Report on its Paedophile Inquiry. The image of the family unfairly persecuted by the government, the role played by over-zealous welfare workers in unjustified investigations, and the connection between “mad mothers” and the manufacture of false allegations are all themes which have been developed by the backlash movement. A close analysis of the Report of the Wood Royal Commission reveals the extent to which backlash ideology was accepted by the Commission. If, as appears to be the case, the Report is representative of the dominant legal discourse in this area, this study should raise questions about the influence of backlash ideology on law and policy. Child sexual abuse, with its predominance of male offenders, is linked to the construction of masculinity in our society. These particular backlash stereotypes divert attention away from this issue and focus instead on the role of women in “creating” the phenomenon of child sexual abuse through their unbalanced, mad, unreasonable and illogical behaviour