Child Sexual Abuse in Victorian England is the first detailed investigation of the way that child abuse was discovered, debated, diagnosed and dealt with in the Victorian and Edwardian periods.
The focus is placed on the child and his or her experience of court procedure and welfare practice, thereby providing a unique and important evaluation of the treatment of children in the courtroom. Through a series of case studies, including analyses of the criminal courts, the author examines the impact of legislation at grass roots level, and demonstrates why this was a formative period in the legal definition of sexual abuse. Providing a much-needed insight into Victorian attitudes, including that of Christian morality, this book makes a distinctive contribution to the history of crime, social welfare and the family. It also offers a valuable critique of current work on the history of children's homes and institutions, arguing that the inter-personal relationships of children and carers is a crucial area of study.