Added: June 7, 2014 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Shani D'Cruze

Title: Protection, Harm and Social Evil

Subtitle: The Age of Consent, c. 1885-c. 1940

In: Evil, Law and the State: Perspectives on State Power and Violence

Edited by: John T. Parry

Place: Amsterdam and New York, NY

Publisher: Editions Rodopi B.V.

Year: 2006

Pages: 31-45

Series: At the Interface/Probing the Boundaries 24

ISBN-10: 9042017481 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

ISBN-13: 9789042017481 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9789401201841 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 19th Century, 20th Century | European History: English History | Prosecution: Laws / Age of Consent



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Abstract: »The next chapter is the first of three in which issues of gender and sexuality play important roles. In "Prostitution, Harm and Social Evil: the Age of Consent, c. 1885-c. 1940," Shani D'Cruze considers the legal history of the age of consent in cases involving sexual activity by or sexual assault of teenagers and adolescents. She sets out the ways in which identifying the "evil" or "outrage" in such cases is problematic. Evil appeared sometimes in the provocative sexuality of the young person, sometimes in the man (or very occasionally woman) accused, but it was often more diffusely located. Age of consent legislation was intended as much to address wider conceptions of social evil as much as to protect young people and children. Cases applying this legislation contested contradictory conceptualizations of the child as sexually innocent or as sexually knowing, as in need of care and protection or in need of disciplline and control. In these decisions, courts differentially emphasized both punishment and welfare. Through this analysis, D'Cruze highlights changes and continuities in the discursive frameworks framing expert, judicial, and popular knowledges about sexuality, youth, and consent.« (John T. Parry. »Introduction.« Evil, Law and the State: Perspectives on State Power and Violence. Edited by John T. Parry. Amsterdam 2006: x)


  1. Sex. Violence, Power and Age (p. 31)
  2. Victorian Legislation (p. 32)
  3. Questions of Desire (p. 33)
  4. Tyrell – the Provocative Child (p. 35)
  5. Competing Discourses, Professionalisation and Legal Review between the Wars (p. 36)
  6. Come on Silly (p. 39)
  7. Conclusion (p. 40)
  Notes (p. 41)
  Bibliography (p. 42)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / Victorian era, Edwardian era, Interwar Britain | Sex and the law: Age of consent / Ages of consent in Europe