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Professor Ben Mathews

Faculty of Law,
Law School

Personal

Name
Professor Ben Mathews
Position(s)
Professor
Faculty of Law,
Law School
Discipline *
Law
Phone
+61 7 3138 2983
Fax
+61 7 3138 2121
Email
Location
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Qualifications

PhD (Queensland University of Technology), BA (Hons) (Queensland University of Technology), LLB (James Cook Uni. of North Qld)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Mental Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
  • Member, World Health Organization (Department of Reproductive Health), Guideline Development Group, Health Sector Response to Child Sexual Abuse in Low and Middle Income Countries
  • Member, World Health Organization (Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases), Guideline Development Group, Health Sector Response to Child Maltreatment in Low and Middle Income Countries
  • Editorial Board, Child Abuse and Neglect
  • International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect
  • Asia-Pacific Violence Against Children Research Group (KnowMore Violence and UNICEF)
  • Children’s Clinical Health Ethics and Law Group (CCHEL), Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Queensland
  • Child Protection Practitioners Association of Queensland
Keywords

Child Abuse and Neglect, Children and Medical Law, Children's Rights, Civil Liability for Child Abuse, Criminal Justice Systems and Children, Cultural Violence: Female Genital Mutilation, Law and Children, Mandatory Reporting Laws, Schools and the law

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008

Biography

Dr Ben Mathews is a Professor in the School of Law at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia, and is Senior Research Fellow in the QUT Faculty of Law. Dr Mathews has published 14 government reports, over 60 refereed scholarly articles and book chapters, and over 20 law reform submissions on issues concerning children and the law, with a focus on multidisciplinary research at the interface of child maltreatment and law. His key field of research expertise is in the prevention, detection, and response to child abuse and neglect by legal and social systems. His body of research includes legal analysis; conceptual analysis; ethical analysis; legal analysis informed by social science; systematic reviews (using PRISMA and Cochrane); analysis of government datasets; time trend analysis of the impact of law in lived experience; longitudinal studies of reporting of child abuse and the outcomes of these reports; comparative analysis of different legal systems; randomised controlled trials of educational interventions (using CONSORT); regulatory and policy analysis; and the study of law and policy as an agent of change. Both as a sole investigator and as a leader of large teams, Ben has conducted numerous transdisciplinary research projects for end-users from government and industry (details provided below). His research findings are heavily cited and have influenced major reform of legislation, policy and practice in multiple jurisdictions, especially concerning the mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect, and civil statutes of limitation for child abuse claims. As a result of this research impact, Dr Mathews was jointly awarded the QUT Award for Excellence in High-Impact Research in 2015. His research expertise in law and child abuse has resulted in appointments as Adjunct Professor, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University; Professorial Fellow to the Australian Government Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse;  Member of the World Health Organization Guideline Development Group (Department for the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Injury and Violence Prevention) to produce Guidelines for the health sector response to child maltreatment; Member of the World Health Organization Guideline Development Group (Department of Reproductive Health) to produce Guidelines for the health sector response to children who have experienced sexual abuse; member of the Asia-Pacific Violence Against Children Research Group (Know Violence in Childhood and UNICEF); and member of the editorial board of the leading international journal Child Abuse and Neglect. He has provided technical advice to governments in multiple jurisdictions in Australia, and to members of the UK House of Lords. He was appointed Director of Research in the School of Law in 2012-13, and is Co-Leader of the Children’s Health Program in the Australian Centre for Health Law Research: http://www.qut.edu.au/research/achlr. In 2015 he was co-editor with Donald C. Bross of a major new book on mandatory reporting laws: Mandatory reporting laws and the identification of severe child abuse and neglect (http://www.springer.com/us/book/9789401796842).  He is now writing a new book entitled New international frontiers in child sexual abuse: theory, problems and progress, to be completed in 2017.   Current major research areas involve four key topics concerning law and children:

  1. Child abuse and neglect and legal and regulatory systems for prevention, detection and response (mandatory reporting laws, systemic responses to child maltreatment, civil liability and legal remedies for child abuse, institutional child abuse, child and youth serving institutions and optimal prevention methods; sexual abuse, redress schemes, statutes of limitation, law reform, policy reform, regulatory reform);
  2. Children and medical law (children’s health generally, consent to treatment, medico-legal issues);
  3. Children’s rights (generally, and including cultural violence eg female genital mutilation/cutting);
  4. Children and education law (student discipline and exclusion, bullying, student and staff welfare).

Government research and empirical studies.  Ben has undertaken major studies into the protection of children from abuse within and beyond institutional contexts, including studies of the law, theory and practice of mandatory reporting.  He has completed three major research projects for the Australian Government Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: Oversight and Regulatory Mechanisms Aimed at Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse: Understanding current evidence of efficacy (in press, to be published in 2017), pp. 1-260. Scoping project for a national study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia (2016: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/policy-and-research/our-research/published-research), pp. 1-256. Mandatory reporting laws for child sexual abuse in Australia: A legislative history (2014: http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/policy-and-research/published-research), pp. 1-150. Other major completed projects include: Child Abuse and Neglect: A Socio-Legal Study of Mandatory Reporting in Australia (2015): the first national longitudinal study of the reporting of all types of child abuse and neglect by all reporter groups over a 10 year period (2003-2012), producing a 9 volume national report (https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/publications-articles/child-abuse-and-neglect-a-socio-legal-study-of-mandatory-reporting-in-australia). Teachers Reporting Child Sexual Abuse: Towards Evidence-based Reform of Law, Policy and Practice: a 3 year study of teachers reporting child sexual abuse in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. Results of this study influenced changes to Queensland legislation, and policy and teacher training in three States (2006-08). Nurses Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: A State-wide study of Queensland nurses’ reporting of all types of child abuse and neglect (n = 930) (2005). External research funding.Dr Mathews has led and administered externally-funded projects approaching $1 million over the last decade. Major projects include:

  1. Oversight and Regulatory Mechanisms Aimed at Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse: Understanding current evidence of efficacy (Professor Ben Mathews) Australian Government (Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse), 2015-16 ($142,000)
  2. Systematic review of clinical ethics in reporting child sexual abuse (Professor Ben Mathews) World Health Organization, Department of Reproductive Health, 2016 ($32,000)
  3. Prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Australia: Scoping project (Australian Government (Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse), (Prof I Katz, Prof F Arney, A/Prof K Walsh, Prof B Mathews, Prof M Dunne, Dr D Higgins), 2015 ($200,000)
  4. A history of mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse in Australia (Associate Professor Ben Mathews) Commonwealth of Australia (Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse), 2013 ($74,260)
  5. Child Abuse and Neglect: A Socio-Legal Study of Mandatory Reporting in Australia (Associate Professor Ben Mathews, Associate Professor Leah Bromfield, Associate Professor Kerryann Walsh, Professor Graham Vimpani) Commonwealth Department of Social Services, 2013-2014 ($90,000)
  6. Educating Mandated Reporters: a randomised controlled trial (Associate Professor Ben Mathews) Penn State University, 2013 ($20,574)
  7. Teachers Reporting Child Sexual Abuse: Towards Evidence-based Reform of Law, Policy and Practice (Professor Des Butler, Associate Professor Ann Farrell, Dr Ben Mathews and Dr Kerryann Walsh), Australian Research Council Discovery Projects Grant, 2006-08 ($250,000)

PhD supervision. Ben thoroughly enjoys PhD supervision and has the highest level of PhD Supervisor Accreditation at QUT (Level 3).  He has successfully supervised eight students to completion. One student is now under examination and a further five students are at various stages of progress.  He welcomes new student applications for postgraduate research degrees.

This information has been contributed by Professor Ben Mathews.

Teaching

Courses currently taught: IF49 Doctor of Philosophy LWN165 Children’s Health and the Law (Master of Laws) LLH201 Legal Research (Honours unit)

Mentor supervisor to unit coordinators in research and skills-based units

 

Postgraduate supervision

Ben is an experienced supervisor and thoroughly enjoys postgraduate supervision. He has supervised seven students to completion, with two more students now under examination. He welcomes applications from new PhD candidates.  He is a Level 3 accredited supervisor (the highest level of accreditation at QUT).

This information has been contributed by Professor Ben Mathews.

Publications


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Awards

Awards and recognition

Type
Membership of a Statutory Committee
Reference year
2016
Details
This group will provide recommendations for health care workers, primarily from low-income and middle-income countries, who encounter and are involved in identifying, assessing, referring, and providing care to children (0-18 years old) who are victims of physical abuse, emotional/psychological abuse and neglect. The group will also provide recommendations to prevent the recurrence of child maltreatment.
Type
Membership of a Statutory Committee
Reference year
2016
Details
This Group will develop Guidelines for the health sector response to children who have experienced contact sexual abuse and/or assault, with a focus on middle income countries and low income countries.
Type
Appointment to Prestigious Positions
Reference year
2015
Details
Professorial Fellow, Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Australian Government
Type
International Collaboration
Reference year
2013
Details
Adjunct Professor, Penn State University, Department of Pediatrics
Type
Advisor/Consultant for Community
Reference year
2007
Details
Retained as consultant to Queensland Department of Communities regarding content, structure and mechanism of $100 million Redress Scheme introduced in 2007 (compensating former residents of State institutions for abuse and neglect suffered as children)

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Title
Young people and sexting in Australia: Ethics, representation and the law
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
2011
Keywords
Australian Law; Ethics; International Law; Sexting; Youth Affairs
Title
Teachers' Reporting Child Sexual Abuse: Towards Evidence-based Reform of Law, Policy and Practice
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
DP0664847
Start year
2006
Keywords
Mandatory reporting laws; Child sexual abuse; Conforming with law; Teachers and schools; Detection and reporting; Negligence

Supervision