This research has been essentially a desk study. It was designed to review the literature concerning child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Australia and elsewhere. It included 26 key international and Australian inquiry reports. It may best be described as a multidisciplinary review of the literature within the academic parameters of the social sciences and applied humanities, which is also both theologically informed and pastorally aware.
It should be noted that many prior studies have not been informed by a deep appreciation of the nuances of Catholic theological and canon law thinking, nor by an appreciation of the various Catholic cultures and their complexities in each country. It was critical that the research team understood in great depth the workings not only of the Australian Church, but also of the Apostolic See in Rome where both had studied at post-graduate level.