Reframing Public Inquiries as 'Procedural Justice' for Victims of Institutional Child Abuse: Towards a Hybrid Model of Justice

34 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 7 Dec 2016

See all articles by Anne-Marie McAlinden

Anne-Marie McAlinden

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law

Bronwyn Naylor

RMIT University - Graduate School of Business and Law; Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 26, 2016

Abstract

As the number of high profile cases of institutional child abuse mounts internationally, and the demands of victims for justice are heard, State responses have ranged from prosecution, apology, and compensation schemes, to truth commissions or public inquiries. Drawing on the examples of Australia and Northern Ireland as two jurisdictions with a recent and ongoing history of statutory inquiries into institutional child abuse, this article utilises the restorative justice paradigm to critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of the inquiry framework in providing ‘justice’ for victims. The article critically explores the normative and pragmatic implications of a hybrid model as a more effective route to procedural justice. It suggests that an appropriately designed restorative pathway may enhance the legitimacy and utility of the public inquiry model for victims chiefly by improving offender accountability and ‘voice’ for victims. The article concludes by offering some thoughts on the broader implications for other jurisdictions in responding to large-scale historical abuses and seeking to come to terms with the legacy of institutional child abuse.

Keywords: Restorative Justice; Sexual Assault; Institutional Abuse; Public Inquiries

Suggested Citation

McAlinden, Anne-Marie and Naylor, Bronwyn, Reframing Public Inquiries as 'Procedural Justice' for Victims of Institutional Child Abuse: Towards a Hybrid Model of Justice (September 26, 2016). (2016) 38 Sydney Law Review 277-309; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2016/8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2859780

Anne-Marie McAlinden

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, BT7 1NN
Ireland

Bronwyn Naylor (Contact Author)

RMIT University - Graduate School of Business and Law ( email )

Melbourne
Australia
+61 3 9925 1297 (Phone)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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