Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice By Jennifer M. Balboni (Boulder: First Forum Press, 2011, 180pp. £43.77)

Death, Jodi (2012) Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice By Jennifer M. Balboni (Boulder: First Forum Press, 2011, 180pp. £43.77). The British Journal of Criminology, 52(3), pp. 673-675.

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Balboni identifies her interest as being the processes of official disclosure and the path taken to civil litigation by survivors of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic Clergy. The empirical data, on which this work is based, come in the form of in-depth face-to-face interviews with 22 survivors of clergy sexual abuse who have pursued litigation and 13 of their advocates. Balboni provides a space for survivors’ accounts of the ‘why’ behind their decision making and the impact of civil litigation on their lives to be heard, discussed and contextualized with both clarity and sensitivity. She acknowledges the breadth and depth of survivor responses, and the perspectives of their legal advocates, employing defiance theory, symbolic interaction and other points of analysis, to capture the journey of survivors towards litigation and beyond. Balboni’s work is deeply poignant in its recognition of survivors’ voices, the complex transformative capacity of litigation, the effects of community forming amongst survivors and the complex nature of ‘empowerment’ obtained by survivors through civil litigation. Acknowledging that, for many survivors, litigation becomes a means of identity change and truth telling, Balboni admits that ‘these survivors helped me understand that litigation is more about voice than monetary settlement’ (p. 149). This work is not deeply analytical or theoretically rich but privileges the voices of survivors and their advocates with sufficient frameworks to contextualize and explain participants’ perspectives and experiences.

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ID Code: 56602
Item Type: Review
Refereed: No
Keywords: Clergy Sexual Abuse, Litigation, Child Sexual Abuse, Catholicism
DOI: 10.1093/bjc/azs004
ISSN: 0007-0955
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Please consult the author.
Deposited On: 23 Jan 2013 00:57
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2013 00:57

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