Added: June 25, 2004 – Last updated: August 1, 2015


Authors: Alyson Brown and David Barrett

Title: Knowledge of Evil

Subtitle: Child prostitution and child sexual abuse in twentieth century England

Place: Cullompton

Publisher: Willan Publishing

Year: 2002

Pages: 212pp.

ISBN-10: 1903240638 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | English History | Types: Child Prostitution, Child Sexual Abuse


Link: -


Authors: Alyson Brown, Department of English and History, Edge Hill University

Abstract: »In this book the authors explore the problem of child sex abuse and child prostitution in Britain during the 20th Century. The discussion is broken down into recognized chronological units. The sex abuse and prostitution activities of each time period are considered in the contexts of socio-economic and policy conditions existing during that time, the overall existence and prevalence of the problem, and the legal responses and social service options of that time employed to combat the problem. The time periods are divided into the late nineteenth century, the Edwardian era, the Great War and the 1920's, the 1920's and 1930's, the Post World War II Reconstruction, the 1960's and 1970's and the 1980's and 1990's. The authors begin the exploration of the topic with a review of information concerning the late nineteenth century due to their belief that this era began the recognition and discussion of child sexual abuse in England. Using limited case studies and reviews of research and literature of the time the authors present the framework of Britain’s modern discussion of child sexual abuse and child prostitution as a social problem. For each time period the authors included extensive discussion of the prevailing social conditions in Britain as a whole and explored the relationships between those concerns and attitudes and the attitudes towards child sex abuse.« (Source: NCJRS Abstracts Database)


  Foreword by Ian Sparks (p. vii)
  Acknowledgements (p. ix)
  1 Introduction – concepts and contexts (p. 1)
    Contents (p. 9)
  2 Debating late nineteenth-century child prostitution (p. 13)
    The Maiden Tribute (p. 20)
    Child prostitution (p. 23)
    Society in the Cremorne Pleasure Gardens (p. 26)
    Conclusions (p. 32)
  3 Edwardian England and the ideal family (p. 38)
    Intervention and resistance, the work of the children's charities (p. 40)
    Childhood, 'moral danger' and prostitution (p. 44)
    Publicitiy, prosecution and public awareness (p. 52)
    The feeble-minded and other perceived causal factors (p. 56)
    Conclusions (p. 59)
  4 War and the 1920s (p. 65)
    The First World War (p. 67)
    The 1920s and the strategies of children's voluntary societies (p. 73)
    Prostitution: investigations and debate (p. 76)
    Unregulated adoptions and abuse (p. 84)
    Conclusions (p. 87)
  5 Prostitution, child abuse and feminism during the 1920s and 1930s (p. 92)
    Feminism and society (p. 93)
    The white slave trade: rhetoric or reality? (p. 96)
    Child abuse and prostitution (p. 100)
    Prostitution, delinquency and psychology (p. 107)
    Conclusions (p. 111)
  6 Reconstruction and a new society (p. 114)
    War, juveniles and commercial sex (p. 116)
    Post-war social change and social policy (p. 121)
    Delinquency and sexuality (p. 125)
    Wolfenden and the Street Offences Act 1959 (p. 128)
    Contemporary attitudes and research on prostitution (p. 133)
    Child and youth prostitution (p. 136)
    Conclusions (p. 140)
  7 The rediscovery of child prostitution during the 1960s and 1970s (p. 146)
    The print media, social problems and child prostitution (p. 147)
    Children and commercial sex (p. 152)
    Studies of delinquency (p. 156)
    Child prostitution, the social services and the media (p. 161)
    Concepts of delinquency and the structure of social services for children (p. 164)
    Conclusions (p. 170)
  8 Child prostitution during the 1980s and 1990s (Margeret Melrose and Patrick Ayre) (p. 176)
    The socio-economic and policy context of child prostitution (p. 176)
    Scale of child prostitution in the 1980s and 1990s (p. 178)
    Legal and social service responses to young people involved in prostitution (p. 180)
    Conclusions (p. 183)
  Postscript (p. 189)
  References (p. 192)
  Index (p. 208)

Editions: Brown, Alyson, et al. Knowledge of Evil: Child prostitution and child sexual abuse in twentienth century England. New York 2013.


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