Forgiveness, Power and Chiild Sexual Abuse by Church Leaders in Australian Churches

Jodi Death

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    1430 Downloads (Pure)


    In exploring the occurrence of and responses made to chi ld sexual abuse
    (csa) by Church leaders, this work primarily considers discourses of power
    and forgiveness. Within this, discourses of gender, sexual ity, Church leaders,
    secrecy and denial are recognised as central to the construction of csa by
    Church leaders within Christian Churches. Taki ng post-structural and femi nist
    theoretical perspectives, the works of Foucault (cf. 1 977; 1 976; 1 984) a nd
    Butler (cf. 1 993; 1 990; 2004) are utilised to explore the function of power
    through discourse. Data for this work has come from on 15 semi-structured
    i nterviews with Church leaders throughout the Australian states of NSW, Qld
    and the ACT. In addition to this, denomi national chi ld protection pol icies and a
    media case study of what has become known as the Hol li ngworth saga are
    thematically a nalysed and considered through post-structural and feminist
    theories. The result of this has been the identification of narrative and identity
    as key to understanding the construction of forgiveness and power in the
    occurrence of and response to csa by Church leaders in Australian churches.
    As this research draws strongly on femi nist methodologies, the role of
    researcher reflexivity is allocated a place of significance. Drawi ng on feminist
    methodologies has resulted in an unexpected journey of identity for my self as
    the primary researcher. lt is recognised in this work that research is an
    interactive process whereby the research may speak back to the researcher.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Ritter, Leonora, Co-Supervisor
    • Thompson, Heather, Co-Supervisor, External person
    • Corbo Crehan, Anna, Co-Supervisor
    Award date09 Nov 2009
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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