La Trobe
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Challenging Institutional Denial: Psychological Discourse, Therapeutic Culture and Public Inquiries

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-02-02, 01:56 authored by Katie WrightKatie Wright
The damaging effects of abuse in childhood were repeatedly emphasised in public hearings and in media coverage of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Testimony from earlier Australian inquiries, which documented widespread experiences of child maltreatment, particularly in institutions, also underscored the ongoing and often intergenerational impact of abuse. Taking institutional child abuse inquiries as a case study, this article examines how psychological and therapeutic concepts have been mobilised politically. It argues that therapeutically oriented and psychologically informed cultural narratives of childhood trauma and its ongoing effects have provided a framework for making sense of long-term experiences of adversity and suffering and have enriched attention to “the question of justice” for survivors of historical institutional child abuse.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Australian Studies in 2018, available online:


Publication Date



Journal of Australian Studies






14p. (p. 177-190)


Taylor and Francis



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