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The Australian Media and Child Abuse

Gendered Domestic Violence and Abuse in Popular Culture

ISBN: 978-1-83867-782-4, eISBN: 978-1-83867-781-7

Publication date: 30 November 2020


In this chapter, the authors focus on a range of Australian news articles selected for their relevance to key themes in the area of child abuse and examine two high profile cases of child abuse deaths that were extensively reported on by the media and led to system reform. Challenges for media reporting on child abuse in Australia including a changing media landscape, lack of available child abuse data and lack of publicly available serious case reviews are discussed. The authors argue that there is a need for attention to be paid to children's resistance and agency in the context of violence and abuse to counter the objectification of children and uphold their rights. Following Finkelhor (2008), the authors argue that media reporting on child abuse in Australia reflects a general approach to child abuse that is fragmented, with different types of abuse viewed as separate from one another, and call for a more integrated understanding of child abuse. The authors highlight the complexity of media responses to child abuse in Australia, noting that while the social problem of child abuse can be misrepresented by the media, media reporting has also triggered significant systemic reform and advocated for children in cases where other systems failed them.



Marshall, V. and Goddard, C. (2020), "The Australian Media and Child Abuse", Ramon, S., Lloyd, M. and Penhale, B. (Ed.) Gendered Domestic Violence and Abuse in Popular Culture (Emerald Studies in Popular Culture and Gender), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-123.



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