Queen's University

Shattering the Illusion: Child Sexual Abuse Policies and Canadian Religious Institutions

Book cover: Shattering the Illusion: Child Sexual Abuse Policies and Canadian Religious Institutions, by Queen's researcher Dr. Tracy J. Trothen. Cover photo is a shattered pane of glass with a large dark hole in the centre.Shattering the Illusion is the first book to gather and comparatively analyze policies addressing child sexual abuse complaints from a selection of religious institutions in Canada. Although there is a substantial body of literature regarding Christianity and sexual abuse, very little of it focuses on religious institutions in Canada and their respective policies.

In the foreword, I summarize the Cornwall Inquiry, out of which this book arose. I then examines the Roman Catholic Church, The United Church of Canada, the Anglican Church, the Mennonite Church, Islam, and the Canadian Unitarian Council/Unitarian Universalist Association, describing in detail the evolution and particular content of policies and procedures that address child sexual abuse complaints directed at paid and volunteer faith community representatives and leaders. I identify differences and common themes among the approaches taken by the institutions and provide a summary table for an accessible comparative overview.

Child sexual abuse is not new, but the emergence of policies to address abuse complaints within religious institutions is. This book identifies significant and shared causal factors behind the emergence of policies and reviews their content carefully. This review will serve as a significant tool for furthering the development of such policies. (Read more)