In this week’s podcast, Alan discusses with Professor Michael Salter, the organised sexual exploitation of children and how as an issue it is marginalised, and why this is so?
The discussion comes in the wake of the recently published report by IICSA: Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks and Prof. Salter’ forthcoming paper The antiepistemology of organised abuse: Ignorance, exploitation, inaction (Salter, M. & Woodlock, D. (2021), British Journal of Criminology).
They discuss organised child abuse, in which multiple adults sexually abuse multiple children, and how in this context research demonstrates how this has an important role to play in the production of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) but has been relegated to the margins of criminological concern. Prof. Salter explains how his co-written paper presents the findings of an international survey of 74 adults who described childhood victimisation in CSAM and organised abuse, emphasising the relationship between organised abuse and entrenched ignorance of it. The paper identifies the multiple zones, practices and structures of ignorance
that render organised abuse unknowable and advocates for strategic forms of knowledge production in which ignorance features as a provocation towards information-seeking rather than as a defence mechanism against intolerable realities.
Alan questions how we can learn from the research, and how this can be gone about for example accessing the wealth of evidential material that must exist in criminal and family court proceedings.
Prof. Salter is a Scientia Research Fellow and Postgraduate Coordinator at the University of New South Wales.