Swain, S. (2018). Both victim and 'perpetrator': finding a voice before inquiries into historical in out-of-home care. International Journal of Transitional Justice,12(3), H. van der Merwe, M. Brinton Lykes. 464-478. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press (OUP). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1093/ijtj/ijy015
Inquiries into historical institutional abuse have only recently come to be viewed through the lens of transitional justice. This article argues that their distinctive victimfocused approach disguises a reality that institutions in which violence was endemic blurred the line between victims and ‘perpetrators.’ Earlier inquiries often blamed residents for the prevalence of institutional violence, avoiding accusations that authorities had failed. Contemporary inquiries, intent on exposing institutional failures, draw a dichotomy between victims and perpetrators, but this makes it difﬁcult for a victim/‘perpetrator’ to ﬁnd a space in which to speak. This article explores the ways in which such people shape their understandings of their dual identity and the challenges which they pose to the unity of survivor advocacy groups in the shift from inquiry to redress. It argues that the existence of victim/‘perpetrator’ should be seen as evidence of institutional failure rather than an indication of individual culpability.
Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education
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