Added: November 1, 2014 – Last updated: March 4, 2017


Author: Ross Noel Barber

Title: Rape and Other Sexual Offences in Queensland

Subtitle: An Historical and Behavioural Analysis

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, University of Queensland

Year: September 1970

Pages: xi + 300pp.

OCLC Number: 37060596 – Find a Library: WordCat | OCLC Number: 37404959 – Find a Library: WordCat | OCLC Number: 670482641 – Find a Library: WordCat | OCLC Number: 670483028 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century, 20th Century | Oceanian History: Australian History | Prosecution: Laws / 19th-Century Legislation, 20th-Century Legislation; Offenders; Victims



Text Queensland (Free Access)

UQ eSpace: Digital Repository of the University of Queensland (Free Access)


Abstract: »This thesis is comprised of two basic portions: the first being an historical survey of the changing attitudes towards major sexual offences in Queensland since its separation from New South Wales in 1859, and the second a detailed investigation of the elements of all the rape and attempted rape trials occurring in that State during the eleven-year period of 1957 to 1967.
Attention in the historical section of the thesis was focused chiefly on the alterations which the laws relating to major sexual offences underwent in the past 110 years. These changes were caused in the main by new social attitudes towards sexual and moral behaviour Often these alterations (both social and legal) emanated from Britain and were subsequently adopted in the colony; however, this tendency began steadily to decrease as the nineteenth century drew to a close. Even earlier, arguments based on the geographic and demographic differences between Queensland and Britain had been successfully advanced to prevent the adoption by the Colonial Legislature of all such British reform measures. One notable example of this was the retention of rape as a capital offence in Queensland until 1899, some 58 years longer than was the case in the Mother Country.
Particular emphasis was placed on the various arguments advanced by parliamentarians, judges, and members of social pressure groups regarding major sexual offences, sexual offenders, and their victims, whether such arguments were successful in achieving or preventing law reforms on these matters or not. The interest here was not so much on the relevant merits of the arguments advanced, but on the extent to which they enjoyed parliamentary, public, or judicial support within Queensland.
In the second, analytical section of this thesis, an investigation was made of all the trials resulting in a conviction for either rape or attempted rape which were held in Queensland during the years 1957-67 inclusive. From this examination a considerable amount of factual data was obtained concerning the offenders and the victims involved in these two major sexual crimes, and some generalized profiles of the offenders, victims, and crime-situations were given. The established characteristics of both the participants in, and the elements of, these two crimes were then compared with the numerous expressed assertions and underlying assumptions contained in the various arguments and "theories" which had previously been found to hold, or to have held at one time, some degree of influence and/or popularity in Queensland.
With regard to several of these "theories" (e.g. the alleged deterrent effect of corporal punishment on sexual offenders), this statistical analysis provided no satisfactory information; but other "theories" experienced either considerable corroboration or contradiction as a result of this investigation. A particularly intensive examination was made of the cases of "pack" rape which occurred in this eleven-year period, and a comparison between these and other, "non-pack" cases revealed that such crimes involved offenders and victims significantly different in such characteristics as age, marital status, and (in the case of the victims) chastity from those found to be the participants in "non-pack" cases. The characteristics of the crime-situations in "pack" as opposed to "non-pack" cases were also found to be significantly different in several important aspects (e.g. in the extensive use made of a motor vehicle by "packs" and their choice of an isolated bush area as the location of the crime). These factors combined to lend strong support to the conclusion that "pack" rape is a product of modern society, with its increased affluence and its changed standards of morality, rather than being merely the result of such happenings as the closing of the brothels or the coming of television. Not that these factors necessarily had no effect.
Special, separate attention was paid to the presently popular argument that the system of sentencing convicted offenders in Queensland (i.e. by the trial judge) is inadequate, irrational and inconsistent. None of the factors on which considerations as to the severity of sentences appeared (after statistical analysis of the cases examined) to be based, however, could be classed as irrelevant to such a decision. And, although the sentences given in this period by the various Supreme Court Judges were closely examined, few, if any, unexplained variations or inconsistencies between individual judges or between judges of different religions or educational environments were found. Nothing, then, emerged from this investigation which in any way provided support for this particular "theory".« (Source: Thesis)


  Summary (p. i)
Section 1
  Chapter 1 - Queensland, 1859-1865 (p. 1)
    Sexual Offences at Separation (p. 1)
    The Earliest Attempt to Alter the Criminal Law Regarding Sexual Offences in Queensland (p. 2)
    The Offenders Against the Person Act of 1865 (p. 7)
    Corporal Punishment for Sexual Offences (p. 14)
    Final Comments on the Offences Against the Person Act of 1865 (p. 17)
  Chapter 2 - Queensland, 1866-1900 (p. 20)
    Rape as a Capital Offence (p. 20)
    Public and Parliamentary Action: 1885-1891 (p. 25)
      (a) Corporal Punishment (p. 25)
      (b) The Offenders Probation Act of 1886 (p. 31)
      (c) The "Age of Consent" Issue and the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1891 (p. 35)
    The Criminal Code Act of 1899 (p. 65)
    Summary of the General Attitude of the Queensland Community towards Sexual Offences at the end of the Nineteenth Century (p. 68)
  Chapter 3 - Queensland in the Twentienth Century (p. 70)
    The Age of Consent (p. 70)
    The Punishment of Children (p. 78)
    The Second World War Years (p. 82)
    Public Outcry (p. 83)
    The Report of the Committee of Inquiry regarding Sexual Offences - 1944 (p. 94)
    Further Amendments of the Criminal Code (p. 102)
    Punishment of Children (p. 106)
    Some Recent Public, Judicial, and Parliamentary Opinion on Sexual Offences, Particulary Rape (p. 109)
    Summary of the Prevailing Attitudes towards Sexual Offenders in Twentieth Century Queensland (p. 119)
  Chapter 4 - How the Law Has Been Changed (p. 121)
    Pressure Groups (p. 122)
    The Judiciary (p. 125)
    Political Parties or "Groupings" (p. 127)
    Individual Ms.L.A. (p. 128)
    Royal Commissions and Select Committees (p. 129)
    The British Houses of Parliament (p. 131)
    Conclusions (p. 132)
Section 2
  Introduction (p. 136)
  Chapter 5 - Offenders (p. 146)
    The Verdict (p. 146)
    Type of Offender (p. 146)
    Age of Offender (p. 148)
    Race of Offenders (p. 151)
    Occupation of Offenders (p. 154)
    Education of Offenders (p. 155)
    Marital Status of Offenders (p. 158)
    Home Life of Offenders (p. 159)
    Mentality and Intelligence of Offenders (p. 160)
    Prior Convictions of Offenders (p. 161)
    Intoxication of Offenders (p. 164)
    Injury Done to Victim (p. 167)
    Age Groups of Victims and Offenders (p. 168)
    Prior Acquaintances of Victim by Offender (p. 171)
    Location of Crime (p. 174)
    Use of Motor Vehicle (p. 177)
    Year of Offence (p. 180)
    Summary (p. 183)
  Chapter 6 - Victims and the Crime-Situation (p. 186)
    Introduction (p. 186)
    Result of Complaint by Victim at Trial (p. 186)
    Age (p. 188)
    Race (p. 189)
    Marital Status and Place of Abode (p. 190)
    Moral Conduct of Victim (p. 191)
    Virginity (p. 191)
    Occupation of Victims (p. 194)
    Intoxication of Victim (p. 195)
    Extent of Injury to Victim (p. 197)
    Proximity of Victim's Place of Residence to Scene of Crime (p. 200)
    Specific Location of Crime (p. 201)
    The Number of Offenders, or the Type of Crime (p. 203)
    Time of Day of Crime (p. 204)
    Day of Week of Crime (p. 209)
    Month of Year of Crime (p. 212)
    Year of Crime (p. 214)
    Number of Offenders (or Type of Crime) (p. 222)
      (1) Nature of the Crime Committed (p. 222)
      (2) Location in Queensland of the Crime (p. 223)
      (3) Location of Victim Prior to Attack or "Pick-up" (p. 225)
      (4) Use of Vehicle in Crime (p. 226)
      (5) Disposal of the Victims after the Crime (p. 228)
      (6) Joint Drinking (p. 230)
      (7) Virginity of Victim (p. 230)
      (8) Degree of Prior Acquaintance (p. 231)
      (9) Premeditation (p. 233)
      (10) Extent of Injury to Victim (p. 234)
      (11) Use of Weapon (p. 235)
    Summary (p. 236)
  Chapter 7 - Judge and Jury Attitudes to Rape, Rapists, and Their Victims (p. 238)
    A. Sentencing and Judicial Attitudes (p. 238)
      (1) General Factors (p. 239)
        (a) Intoxication (p. 239)
        (b) Use of Force (p. 241)
        (c) Injury Done to Victim (p. 242)
        (d) Prior Acquaintance (p. 243)
        (e) Past Criminal Record of Offender (p. 244)
        (f) Virginity of Victim (p. 245)
        (g) Moral Conduct of Victim (p. 246)
        (h) Age of Offender (p. 247)
        (i) Age of Victim (p. 248)
        (j) Disposal of Victim (p. 249)
        (k) Plea at Trial (p. 250)
        (l) Number of Offenders or Type of Crime (p. 251)
        (m) Year of Crime (p. 252)
      (2) Group Characteristics of Judges (p. 253)
        (a) Extend of Injury Done to Victim (p. 254)
        (b) Race of Offender (p. 255)
        (c) Virginity of Victim (p. 255)
        (d) Moral Conduct of Victim (p. 257)
        (e) Number of Offenders or Type of Crime (p. 258)
        (f) Conclusion (p. 258)
      (3) Individual Judges (p. 258)
    B. Jury Reactions (p. 260)
      (a) Virginity of Victim (p. 261)
      (b) Moral Conduct of Victim (p. 262)
      (c) Disposal of Victim (p. 263)
      (d) Recommendations to Mercy (p. 264)
    Summary (p. 265)
  Chapter 8 - Conclusion (p. 266)
    A. The Profiles (p. 266)
      (i) The Offenders (p. 266)
        (a) Profile of a "Pack" Offender (p. 267)
        (b) Profile of "Solo" Offenders (p. 270)
        (c) Profile of a "Pair" Offender (p. 273)
      (ii) The Victims (p. 275)
      (iii) The Crime Situationn (p. 279)
        (a) The "Pack" Offence (p. 279)
        (b) The "Pair" Offences (p. 280)
        (c) The "Solo" Offences (p. 281)
    B. The "Theories" Tested (p. 285)
  Bibliography (p. 296)
    A. Legal Material (p. 296)
    B. Parliamentary Material (p. 296)
    C. Newspapers (p. 296)
    D. Other Published Works (p. 297)
    E. Other Unpublished Material (p. 299)
      1. Research Projects (p. 299)
      2. Theses (p. 299)

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