Next Article in Journal
Towards Integrated Care for Chronic Patients in Belgium: The Pilot Project, an Instrument Supporting the Emergence of Collaborative Networks
Next Article in Special Issue
Victims, Criminal Justice and State Compensation
Previous Article in Journal
Could 79 People Solarize the U.S. Electric Grid?
Previous Article in Special Issue
Integration of African Customary Legal Concepts into Modern Law: Restorative Justice: A Kenyan Example
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

‘A Poor Prospect Indeed’: The State’s Disavowal of Child Abuse Victims in Youth Custody, 1960–1990

Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2019, 9(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9020027
Received: 21 February 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 2 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Access to Justice: Historical Approaches to Victims of Crime)
  |  
PDF [393 KB, uploaded 19 April 2019]

Abstract

Child abuse in youth custody in England and Wales is receiving an unprecedented degree of official attention. Historic allegations of abuse by staff in custodial institutions which held children are now being heard by the courts and by the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), and some criminal trials have resulted in convictions. A persistent question prompted by these investigations is that of why the victims of custodial child abuse were for so long denied recognition as such, or any form of redress. Drawing on original documentary research, this article aims to explain why and how state authorities in England and Wales failed to recognise the victimisation of children held in penal institutions between 1960 and 1990, and argues that this failure constitutes a disavowal of the state’s responsibility. We show that the victims of custodial child abuse were the victims of state crimes by omission, because the state failed to recognise or to uphold a duty of care. We argue further that this was possible because the occupational cultures and custodial practices of penal institutions failed to recognise the structural and agentic vulnerabilities of children. Adult staff were granted enormous discretionary power which entitled them to act (and to define their actions) without effective constraint. These findings, we suggest, have implications for how custodial institutions for children should think about the kinds of abuse which are manifest today. View Full-Text
Keywords: youth justice; prisons; child abuse; child sexual abuse; crime victims; state crimes; prison sociology; historical criminology youth justice; prisons; child abuse; child sexual abuse; crime victims; state crimes; prison sociology; historical criminology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
SciFeed

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Jarman, B.; Lanskey, C. ‘A Poor Prospect Indeed’: The State’s Disavowal of Child Abuse Victims in Youth Custody, 1960–1990. Societies 2019, 9, 27.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Societies EISSN 2075-4698 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top