Researcher biography

  • Past Degrees: MA (Cologne), MCouns (UQ)
  • Supervisors: Prof. Peter Cryle & Dr Karin Sellberg
  • Area of Research: As a child protection worker in Queensland I have come across a number of cases featuring concerns about women alleged to have sexually abused children. Other cases have shown indications that a woman might have been involved in the sexual abuse of a child, but the focus of the investigation was elsewhere. On the whole, there seems to be a lack of awareness of women as sex offenders. Consequently, intervention efforts can be tentative and unconvinced. Both popular and professional discourses about child sexual abuse tend to focus exclusively on males as offenders. I found myself asking a set of questions: Could it be that even though women have demonstrated they are capable of harming children, they do not engage in sexually motivated abuse? And if that were the case, why not? On the other hand, if they do--albeit in a smaller number than males--how have we come to believe this to be unthinkable? It struck me that these beliefs concerning women were hindering timely and effective intervention efforts, efforts which might have been applied more readily in the case of a male offender. I aim to undertake a careful analysis of the available historical discourses connecting gender, criminality, sexuality, and sexual practices to the significant other in this constellation--the child, and critique the idea of a proverbial stance of feminism which largely identifies women as victims.