Abstract: On 12 November 2012 the then Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced she was recommending to the Governor General the establishment of a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Following inquiries in Australia and elsewhere much is already known about institutional and inter-institutional child protection failures and what is required to address them. That Australia’s national government has pursued another abuse inquiry with terms of reference limited to institution-based (excluding the family) sexual abuse is of interest given the lack of political will to enact previous findings and recommendations. This article examines the background to the Government’s announcement, the Commission’s terms of reference and some of its settings, and literature on the nature of royal commissions across time and place. After the lack of success in implementing the recommendations of previous inquiries into how to better protect Australia’s children, the question is: how will this Royal Commission contribute to Australian child protection and safety? Will the overwhelming public support generated by “truth speaking to power” in calling for this inquiry translate into action?
Abstract: In health research, socioeconomic position (SEP) is used to measure the context of social inequality. Studies on low birth weight (LBW) that attempt to capture social inequality have generally used single measures of SEP or have employed conventional SEP measures, such as income and education, without regard to how other indicators could influence findings. This study investigates the association between SEP and LBW across blacks and whites using multiple and alternative indicators of SEP. We use a stratified random sample of 13,513 postpartum mothers, obtained from the Michigan Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (2000–2006), and evaluate four SEP measures across race: maternal education, Medicaid before pregnancy, Women, Infants and Children (WIC) enrollment during pregnancy and paternal acknowledgment. Results indicate that associations between SEP and LBW vary depending on the SEP measure used and the racial subpopulation under consideration. To explain and reduce social inequalities in LBW, a more differentiated approach that does not assume equivalence among SEP measures and across racial/ethnic groups should be employed.
Abstract: This paper starts from the assumption of a structural analogy between mega-events and large-scale disasters. Both imply forceful interruptions of everyday routines, and both involve imperatives for imminent action. Similar to the immovable deadline of an opening ceremony, a looming natural disaster triggers a complex set of precautions and preparations to cope with the inescapable forthcoming shock. In the case of mega-events, of course, this shock is self-induced. In fact, cities fiercely compete to host mega-events. In the face of the daunting challenges of hosting a mega-event—the immovable timeframe, the rigorous standards set by regulatory bodies, and the exceptional public visibility—the authorities and organizations in charge traditionally have resorted to strategies of a strict adaptation to the conditions imposed on them. Aligning all available resources and capabilities to match the foreseeable demands, however, undermines the adaptability to cope with unpredictable perturbations. This paper seeks to explore the strategies and practices to attain adaptability during the preparation, staging and implementation of legacy plans of a mega-event with an evidentially noteworthy record: the London Olympic Games 2012. The paper seeks to demonstrate that the project ecology in charge managed to enhance adaptability by implementing three key features of heterarchy: ambiguity, redundancy and loose coupling.By leveraging the principles of heterarchy, the project ecology was able to draw lessons from previous mega-events and both to anticipate and respond to unforeseen challenges.
Abstract: Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child outlines the rights of children to express their views in decisions affecting their lives. There is further evidence to support the positive benefits for children who are afforded this right. However, evidence shows that despite legislative and policy frameworks to support this, repeated messages from inquiry reports highlight failures to do so. This paper draws upon research undertaken in Scotland but the findings of the study are relevant across the UK and beyond. Child protection documentation including reports and case conference minutes were analysed to assess to what extent the child’s views were presented to, and considered in, decision making forums. In particular the study considers how the child’s views and wishes are represented in writing, and highlights the ways which professionals filtered and interpreted the child’s view rather than presented it in its pure form. Messages have emerged identifying a need for workers to be clear about the factors which influence their practice with children. These include the value they place on children’s participation, the skills and confidence needed to engage children with complex needs and the impact of competing tensions. One example of such a tension is that between the needs of busy workers, and those of children who are potentially involved in a range of decision making processes.
Abstract: The aim of theGathering the Voices project is to gather testimonies from Holocaust survivors who have made their home in Scotland and to make these testimonies available on the World Wide Web. The project commenced in 2012, and a key outcome of the project is to educate current and future generations about the resilience of these survivors. Volunteers from the Jewish community are collaborating with staff and undergraduate students in Glasgow Caledonian University in developing innovative approaches to engage with school children. These multimedia approaches are essential, as future generations will be unable to interact in person with Holocaust survivors. By students being active participants in the project, they will learn more about the Holocaust and recognize the relevance of these testimonies in today’s society. Although some of the survivors have been interviewed about their journeys in fleeing from the Nazi atrocities, for all of the interviewees, this is the first time that they have been asked about their lives once they arrived in the United Kingdom. The interviews have also focused on citizenship and integration into society. The project is not yet completed, and an evaluation will be taking place to measure the effectiveness of the project in communicating its message to the public.
Abstract: This study analyzed data from the 1998, 2003 and 2008 Canadian Incidence Study of reported child abuse and neglect (CIS) and compared the profile of children who were reported for an urgent protection investigation versus any other investigation or assessment. As a proportion of all investigations, urgent protection cases have dropped from 28% of all investigations in 1998, to 19% in 2003, to 15% in 2008. Results from the CIS-2008 analysis revealed that 7% of cases involved neglect of a child under four, 4% of cases involved sexual abuse, 2% of cases involved physical abuse of a child under four and 1% of cases involved children who had sustained severe enough physical harm that medical treatment was required. The other 85% of cases of investigated maltreatment involved situations where concerns appear to focus less on immediate safety and more on the long-term effects of a range of family related problems. These findings underscore the importance of considering the dual mandate of child welfare mandates across Canada: intervening to assure the urgent protection and safety of the child versus intervening to promote the development and well-being of the child.