Child-abuse preventive practices of Tasmanian Anglican clergy: A situational crime prevention analysis


School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Australia,

Clergy-child sexual abuse and the subsequent responses of church institutions and clerical superiors has received significant academic attention over the last decade, particularly within the Roman Catholic Church.  Such scholastic inquiry has focussed upon several core subject matters: offenders and theorisations as to abuse causation; institutional responses; and survivors.  A major finding through this research is that, contrary to popular belief, paraphilic orientations towards children has not been found to be present amongst the majority of offenders, both within church and general society, pointing to the importance of power, place and opportunity as causative variables for sexual offending against children.  Notwithstanding the thorough and detailed work published to date there are significant underdevelopments in this field.  Firstly, little research has been conducted into Christian denominations other than Roman Catholicism. Secondly, inquiry has thus far largely ignored the ‘everyday cleric’ and their activities, attitudes and practices towards preventing child sexual abuse.  Presenting initial findings from research on clerical habitus in Tasmania, this paper seeks to address ‘clerical collar crime’ through examining the everyday ministerial practices of clergy in the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania. The framework of Situational Crime Prevention will be used to evaluate the feasibility of employed child-safe clerical practices and provide comment on how these practices could be further altered through professional development.


Michael Andre Guerzoni is a current PhD candidate in the Sociology and Criminology Program, School of Social Sciences at the University of Tasmania, Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Criminology from the University of Tasmania. Michael Andre’s research examines clerical cultures, clerical practices, and church secrecy pertaining to clergy-child sexual abuse and child protection within Catholicism and Anglicanism.


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