A problem of culture? Child sexual exploitation and marginalisation of children.

Stream: Gendered Identities: Exploring Sexual Violence
Date: Wednesday, 11 February 2015
Time: 3.15 pm – 5.00 pm


The child exploitation and cover-up exposed in Rotherham have alarmed many, yet there is limited understanding of similar risks within Australia. At a time where serious concerns have been raised around the sexual exploitation of children in the out-of-home care system, and a Royal Commission examines the culture within organisations that enabled abuse, this paper explores the often troublesome cultural and artistic representations of underage children (especially females) and how they interact with and affect mainstream depictions of at-risk and marginalised children. It will consider the interplay between the fetishisation and sexualisation of girls and the marginalising effect this can have on their engagement in systems designed to protect and support them. Already damaged or vulnerable children are not afforded the same level of consideration or respect as children not in the child protection system, and this can have harmful repercussions for prevention efforts and other forms of intervention. The effect of this cultural discourse on policy responses will be examined. The recent revelations of child sexual exploitation in out-of-home care led to expressions of disgust, but not surprise: what are the policy implications for addressing the cultural and societal attitudes that enable such abuses to occur?


Scott Jacobs (Presenter), Child Wise
Scott Jacobs is the Head of Research & Advocacy at Child Wise. In conjunction with Child Wise’s National Child Abuse Prevention Team, he developed the ‘12 Standards for a Child Safer Organisation’ and the ‘Child Safer Organisations Certification’ Program. He has experience in creating child safe organisations within Australia, and has worked in community development in Timor-Leste.