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Child Abuse in Irish Catholic Settings: A Non-Reductionist Account

NCJ Number
Child Abuse Review Volume: 21 Issue: 6 Dated: November - December 2012 Pages: 405-413
David Pilgrim
Date Published
December 2013
9 pages
This article focuses on child abuse in the Irish Catholic Church.
The reputation of the Irish Catholic Church has been damaged, maybe irrevocably, by the extensive evidence of child abuse in its midst. This paper summarizes the evidence for that crisis and goes on to offer a multi-factorial and non-reductionist account of the abuse in a wider context. By adopting a systemic approach, this account aims to discern those factors which are peculiar to the Irish case and those that have more general significance for child protection. The Irish case demonstrates a complex set of conditions of possibility for child abuse. Some of these were only relevant to Ireland and the Catholic Church but some were not. In particular, varieties of systemic isolation and the a priori social marginalization of victims are important to consider as salient risk factors. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.