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Dark secrets of childhoodMedia power, child abuse and public scandals$
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Fred Powell and Margaret Scanlon

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447317845

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447317845.001.0001

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Child abuse, cultural disbelief and the patriarchal family

Child abuse, cultural disbelief and the patriarchal family

(p.161) Five Child abuse, cultural disbelief and the patriarchal family
Dark secrets of childhood

Fred Powell

Margaret Scanlon

Policy Press

This chapter analyses four major Irish child abuse inquiries that revolved around family violence. All four were patriarchal families with a domineering and overbearing father who abused his power relations with his children and his submissive spouse. The chapter explores the cultural context of social work intervention with these families and the role of wider state agencies. The exploration examines the influence of traditionalist values that led to a culture of disbelief, constraining social work intervention and children’s rights. The chapter also discusses the politicisation of family rights and the consequences for child protection.

Keywords:   child abuse, cultural disbelief, the patriarchal family, social services failures, social work

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