The Anglophone world is gripped by a moral panic centred on child abuse in general and fear of the paedophile in particular. Evidence suggests an alarming rise in the number of false allegations of sexual abuse being made against teachers, and demonstrates that the fallout from being falsely accused is far-reaching and sometimes tragic. Many people in this position cannot sustain family relationships, have breakdowns, and are often unable to return to the classroom when their ordeal is over.
Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom draws on in-depth qualitative research exploring the experiences, perceptions and consequences for those who have been falsely accused of sexual misconduct with pupils, and for the family members, friends and colleagues affected by or involved in the accusation process. The book also highlights the dilemmas and difficulties the authors themselves have faced researching this field, such as:
ethical and methodological concerns over whether or not the teachers had indeed been falsely accused, or were guilty and taking advantage of this project to construct an alternative, innocent identity
the difficulty of obtaining institutional ethical clearance to undertake and publish research which challenges master narratives concerning children and their protection
the reluctance of funders to support research in controversial and sensitive areas.
Researching Sex and Lies in the Classroom reveals findings which are both informative and shocking. It interrogates the appropriateness of current investigative and judicial procedures and practices, and it raises general questions about the surveillance and control of research and academic voice. It will be of great benefit to academics and researchers interested in this field, as well as postgraduate students, teachers and other professionals working with the fear of allegations of abuse.