Source: (1999) Paper presented at the Restoration for Victims of Crime Conference. Australian Institute of Criminology and Victims Referral and Assistance Service. Melbourne

In this paper Kennedy focuses on attitudes about child victims of abuse. How do participants define child abuse, and what do they believe the consequences of child abuse to be? For Kennedy, the purpose of her research study is discover what those attitudes reveal about the systems designed to support child victims of abuse. Her study involved a review of the literature on intergenerational violence or “cycle of violenceâ€? theory. Kennedy acknowledges certain limitations in her research, and then proceeds to detail beliefs about abused children, the meaning of abuse, and implications of participant beliefs about the consequences of abuse. She concludes that definitions of child abuse are highly subjective, that there is no empirical basis for believing that abused children are pre-abusive, and that criminology and criminal justice systems ill-serve child victims of abuse by applying such stigmatizing beliefs.

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