Hierarchies of Harm and Violence: Historicising Familial Sexual Violence in Australia

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Featherstone, Lisa
Kaladelfos, Andy
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2014
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This article interrogates the prosecution of familial sexual crimes in 1950s Australia, a decade where the family was considered the bedrock of society. Using criminal trial transcripts from the period, we analyse how offenders, victims, families, lawyers and judges understood familial sexual abuse. We examine the contours of cases heard by New South Wales (NSW) higher courts in the 1950s, analysing three important themes: conceptualisations of the harm and violence in familial abuse; the relationship between offenders' explanations of familial abuse and the gender dynamics of the family and how financial constraints on women in the family impeded reporting of sexual abuse.

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Australian Feminist Studies

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29

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81

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Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)

Studies in Human Society

Language, Communication and Culture

History and Archaeology

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