> Skip to content

This book examines the policing, prosecution and punishment of sexual crimes in Australia in the 1950s

The Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2017) has given national consciousness to the problematic treatment of sexual offences in Australia’s past. Yet there has been little historical research into the policing, prosecution and punishment of those crimes.

This book examines Australia’s treatment of sexual crimes in the 1950s, a decade well known for its political and social conservatism, its prudish views on morality, and its prescriptive gender roles for men and women. Fewer would know that this same decade saw soaring arrests, mounting criminal prosecutions, and intensifying public debates about how to deal with sexual offenders. Or that sexual offences on children attracted the most concentrated state attention and public concern.

Sex Crimes in the Fifties uncovers this new history by drawing on transcripts of hundreds of criminal proceedings and extensive research in criminal justice archives. We examine the criminal trial itself, exploring how prosecutors, defence counsel, witnesses, juries and judges understood sexual crimes. We consider the experience of women testifying in rape trials, the prosecution of sexual crimes against children, the court’s treatment of recent immigrants, the prosecution and punishment of homosexual men, the influence of psychiatric evidence, and the increasing public debates over the ‘sex offender’. We show that the 1950s was indeed foundational to many of our contemporary beliefs about sexual crimes.

This book makes a major contribution to our historical and socio-legal knowledge about sexual offences and criminal prosecution. It will be of interest to historians, criminologists, sociologists, and legal scholars as well as general readers interested in the treatment of these crimes in our past.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780522866551

    July 18, 2016

    MUP Academic

    255 pages

    RRP $49.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • Hardback

    9780522870176

    July 18, 2016

    MUP Academic

    255 pages

    RRP $69.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9780522866568

    July 18, 2016

    MUP Academic Digital

    319 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

Recommendations

Batavia
Guns, Germs And Steel
Hitler's First Victims
New Jerusalem
Histories of Controversy
Hillsborough Voices
Australia and the Great War
Courtesan and Countess
Avenue Of Spies
The Making of Australia
Village of Secrets
The Zhivago Affair
Dirty Bertie: An English King Made in France
Dad's War
The Trigger
The Real Great Escape
Belonging
Orpheus
Russia
Forgotten Voices Desert Victory