Print this page

Breaking Silences

Media and the Child Abuse Royal Commission

The iron fence of St Patrick's Cathedral, Ballarat

The Breaking Silences: Media and the Child Abuse Royal Commission project analyses the role of media, journalism and social media activism in the ground-breaking Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-17) (RCIRCSA). Through an investigation into the impacts of a rapidly changing media environment on this national ‘listening’ exercise, this is the first major Australian research to explore the nexus between media and commissions of inquiry in the digital era.

A case study approach is used to critically analyse the role of a transitioning local, national and social media in triggering, reporting on and keeping alive the findings of the royal commission, ensuring victims of institutional child sexual abuse are heard, and justice is upheld.

The project benefits media organisations and journalists by identifying their role in triggering, reporting on, and holding to account the institutions implicated in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and provide examples of best practice journalism and communication.

It provides governments, journalists, victims advocacy groups, future commissions of inquiry and researchers with knowledge and tools to understand and manage the role of a rapidly transforming media environment and the public inquiry process.

Funding

Australian Research Council Discovery Project DP190101282 (2019-2022)

Breaking Silences Team

Professor Kerry McCallum, University of Canberra

Associate Professor Lisa Waller, Deakin University

Associate Professor Kristy Hess, Deakin University

Associate Professor Tanja Dreher, UNSW

Professor Eli Skogerbø, University of Oslo (Norway)

Other Team Members

Megan Deas, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Canberra

Publications and outputs

Waller, Dreher, Hess, McCallum & Skogerbø (2019) Media Hierarchies of Attention: News Values and Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Journalism Studies (online first).