© 2019

New International Frontiers in Child Sexual Abuse

Theory, Problems and Progress


  • Provides new multidisciplinary understandings of the problem of child sexual abuse

  • Gives an up to date coverage of key issues facing a range of societies and multiple groups of stakeholders

  • Proposes innovative proposals for prevention, detection and response based on evidence and theory


Part of the Child Maltreatment book series (MALT, volume 7)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. The Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Ben Mathews
      Pages 41-85
  3. Theory: Multidisciplinary Understandings of Child Sexual Abuse and Regulatory Responses

  4. Problems and Progress: Contemporary Challenges and Responses

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 159-159
    2. Ben Mathews
      Pages 243-295
  5. Conclusion: Future Directions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 297-297
    2. Ben Mathews
      Pages 299-303
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 305-307

About this book


This book offers a timely and detailed exploration and analysis of key contemporary issues and challenges in child sexual abuse, which holds great relevance for scholarly, legal, policy, professional and clinical audiences worldwide.  The book draws together the best current evidence about the nature, aetiology, contexts, and sequelae of child sexual abuse.  It explores the optimal definition of child sexual abuse, considers sexual abuse in history, and explores new theoretical understandings of children’s rights and other key theories including public health and the Capabilities Approach, and their relevance to child sexual abuse prevention and responses. It examines a selection of the most pressing legal, theoretical, policy and practical challenges in child sexual abuse in the modern world, in developed and developing economies, including institutional child sexual abuse, female genital cutting, child marriage, the use of technology for sexual abuse, and the ethical responsibility and legal liability of major state and religious organisations, and individuals. It examines recent landmark legal and policy developments in all of these areas, drawing in particular on extensive developments from Australia in the wake of its Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It also considers the best evidence about promising strategies and future promising directions in enhancing effective prevention, intervention and responses to child sexual abuse.  


Prevention, detection and response Public health law, policy and practice Global issues and challenges Innovation and social change Multidisciplinary understandings of child sexual abuse Contemporary challenges and international aspects Promising strategies and creative solutions

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

About the authors

Ben Mathews, PhD, LLB, BA, is a Professor and Principal Research Fellow in the Faculty of Law at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. He is also Director of the Childhood Adversity Research Program in the Faculty of Health, and is an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  In 2015-17 he was Professorial Fellow to the Australian Government’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. His major area of research expertise is in children and the law, with a focus on issues concerning law and child maltreatment, child sexual abuse, civil damages for child abuse, children and educational systems, medico-legal issues, children’s rights, cultural violence against children, and children’s criminal responsibility, and law and ethics. He has conducted large multidisciplinary studies of law and child abuse and has published extensively in Australia and internationally, with 70 refereed publications, 16 major government reports, and over 40 conference presentations. He serves as a technical advisor to multiple governments on issues regarding child maltreatment law. His research and knowledge translation has led to changes in law, policy and practice in Australia and overseas.

Bibliographic information