Child sexual abuse and indigenous communities in Australia: a case study of non-inclusive government intervention

Barbara Fawcett, Maurice Hanlon

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9 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, a particular event which occurred in the Northern Territory in Australia in 2007 is used to examine and constructively critique a government strategy that prioritised an invasive and non-participatory form of intervention. The justification for this course of action was the protection of Aboriginal children from sexual abuse. In order to examine both the action taken and the ongoing implications, a case study approach is adopted and despite the recent apology to the ‘stolen generation’, it is argued that links between current events and those of the past can still be made. These include Aboriginal communities continuing to be viewed in a negative, homogenising and pathologising manner and the recurrence of the pervading belief that complex and entrenched structural problems, endemic oppression and poverty can be solved by simple and straightforward solutions. It is contended that events in Australia's Northern Territory have implications for social workers internationally and that these can be seen to challenge the value base of social work and the integrity of the profession.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87 - 100
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2009


  • child sexual abuse
  • indigenous
  • social exclusion
  • discrimination

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