The new silence which is destroying our kids

By Jeremy Sammut, MercatorNet


Why are politicians and the media ignoring the cause of most child abuse: the breakdown of the traditional family?


The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been heralded a new epoch in Australian life that will finally ‘break the silence’ surrounding child sexual abuse.



Sceptical commentators, however, have questioned how the royal commission will ensure children are better protected in the future when its restrictive terms of reference (which only authorise an inquiry into how institutions such as churches, schools and sporting bodies respond to child sexual abuse) ignores the 70 percent to 80 percent of cases of child sexual abuse in which the perpetrator has a ‘familial relationship’ with the abused child.



The limited scope of the royal commission is symptomatic of the wider gaps and silences in the national conversation about child sexual abuse.



That the vast majority of child sexual abuse occurs within the family setting obscures a larger and more significant truth.



Numerous studies have found that children who do not live with both biological parents, irrespective of socioeconomic status, are far more likely to be sexually abused than their peers in intact families. In particular, girls living in non-traditional families are found to have been sexually abused by their ‘stepfathers,’ either the married, cohabiting or casual partner of a divorced or single mother, at many times the rate girls are sexually abused by their natural fathers in intact families.



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