Abuse of foster children in nineteenth-century Australia: Why did it happen then, and why does it matter now?

Journal article


Musgrove, Nell Jane. (2016) Abuse of foster children in nineteenth-century Australia: Why did it happen then, and why does it matter now? History of Education. 45(4), pp. 460 - 476. https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2016.1177608
AuthorsMusgrove, Nell Jane
Abstract

A three-year-old boy, born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1892, lived the final months of his life in an abusive foster home. His death barely made a ripple in the press, and the system proved unable or unwilling to deal with much of the most disturbing evidence about the perpetrators of abuse. This article argues that cases like this one are more than just historical curiosities. They expose abuse that so often lay hidden from the public gaze, and reveal important information about how and why it was allowed to occur. Such cases demand the historian’s attention, not because they are scandalous stories, but because they are sites of historical injustice. They also provide opportunities to understand why systems intended to protect children can fail them so badly, a question that remains pertinent today.

Keywordshistorical child abuse; foster care history; Australian child welfare history; death in out-of-home care
Year2016
JournalHistory of Education
Journal citation45 (4), pp. 460 - 476
PublisherRoutledge
ISSN0046-760X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/0046760X.2016.1177608
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84967335413
Page range460 - 476
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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