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4 March 2022 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Organised sexual abuse of children: HJ Talks About Abuse

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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.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at [email protected] or Danielle Vincent at [email protected], or using the enquiry form below.

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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