Added: July 5, 2014 – Last updated: November 5, 2016


Author: Shani D'Cruze

Title: Protection, Harm and Social Evil

Subtitle: The Age of Consent since 1885

In: Evil, Law and the State: Issues in State Power and Violence

Edited by: Istar Gozaydin and Jody Lyneé Madeira

Place: Oxford

Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press

Year: 2006

Pages: 187-195

ISBN-10: 1904710085 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

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


Link: Inter-Disciplinary.Net (Free Access)


Abstract: »The 1880s moral panic around child prostitution resulted in an increase in the age of consent. Although these campaigns themselves have received much scholarly attention, comparatively little work has explored the legal history and judicial practice around of the age of consent in cases involving the sexual activity or (more commonly) the sexual assault of teenagers and adolescents. Identifying the ‘evil’ or ‘outrage’ in such cases was problematic; ‘evil’ appeared sometimes in the provocative sexuality of the young person, sometimes in the man (or very occasionally woman) accused, but was often more diffusely located. Age of consent legislation was intended as much to address wider conceptions of ‘social evil’ as much as harm to young people and children. Such cases contested and negotiated contradictory conceptualisations of the child as sexually innocent or as sexually knowing; in need of care and protection or in need of discipline and control. Judicial responses differentially emphasised both punishment and welfare. This paper considers the period between the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885 and the 1930s. It identifies changes and continuities in the discursive frameworks framing expert, judicial and popular knowledges about sexuality, youth and consent.« (Source: Article)


  1. Sex, Violence, Power and Age (p.187 )
  2. Victorian legislation (p. 188)
  3. Tyrrell – the provocative child (p. 190)
  4. Competing interwar discourses (p. 191)
  Notes (p. 193)

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