Added: November 26, 2003 – Last updated: May 23, 2015


Author: Constance B. Backhouse

Title: Nineteenth Century Judicial Attitudes toward Child Custody, Rape and Prostitution

Subtitle: -

In: Equality and Judicial Neutrality

Edited by: Sheilah L. Martin and Kathleen E. Mahoney

Place: Toronto

Publisher: Carswell

Year: 1987

Pages: 271-281

ISBN-10: 0459308319 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 19th Century | Canadian History | Prosecution: Laws


Link: Author's Personal Website (Free Access)

Link: Social Science Research Network (Free Access)


Author: Constance Backhouse, Faculty of Law - Common Law Section, University of OttawaAuthor's Personal Website, Wikipedia

Abstract: »Canadian jurisprudence in cases involving child custody, rape and prostitution throughout nineteenth century illustrates that the judiciary espoused a rigid view of women's role as subordinate in families and society. Judges also embraced a double-standard in expectations of women's and men's sexual morality. Judicial decisions were not merely a reflection of the social realities at the time; judges opposed efforts to advance women's status, and systematically tried to restrict women to traditional roles in a society that privileged men. The author examines decisions in child custody and rape to show significant bias in favour of fathers and claimants. Judicial permissiveness of prostitution was not the result of an anomalous desire to protect women, but to protect prostitution as an institution. Judicial attitudes consistently protected the freedom and power of men over women in nineteenth-century Canada.« (Source: Social Science Research Network)


  1. Introduction (p. 271)
  2. Child Custody Awards (p. 272)
  3. Rape Law (p. 275)
  4. Prostitution Law (p. 278)
  5. Conclusion (p. 280)