Browsing PhD e-theses by Authors
Children, sex and the lawJanes, Laura Kerner (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2013-12)Anxieties about the premature sexualisation of children (Bailey, 20II) and the prevalence of abuse among children (Radford et al, 20 11) have coincided with ongoing attempts through legislation and policy to protect children from sexual abuse by adults and children alike since the early 1990s (Masson, 2006). As the legal framework has expanded in scope, research by psychologists, criminologists and social scientists suggest that children convicted of sexual offences have low rates of recidivism (Hargreaves and Francis 2013), reduced further by interventions that meet their needs as young people in a holistic fashion (Rich, 20II; Hackett, 2004). Against this background, Children, sex and the law explores the complex issues that emerge when the law is used to respond to sexual activity by children. The research comprises a combination of secondary research of the legal framework and direct inductive qualitative research through in-depth semi-structured interviews with ten young people, followed by interviews with ten professionals to contextualise their experiences. The findings provide a unique insight into the experience of ten young people with histories of harmful sexual behaviour in contact with the criminal justice system and their experiences of the legal processes. The findings consider the journeys of these ten young people in three distinct phases, each marked by legal events: in the lead up to contact with the criminal justice system, their navigation through the system and their preparation towards reintegration. The study concludes that the current legal framework is ill suited to achieving its aim of protecting children and preventing reoffending.