In this talk, local historian Brian Bates will explore children as villains and victims in the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 19th century the justice system made little distinction between adult and child criminals.
Children as young as 7 appeared before the same courts as adults, were subject to the same punishments, and shared the same prisons. As the century moved on reformers pressed for a change in attitude, to one where the child was seen as vulnerable, and imprisonment as an opportunity to educate and not just punish.
Similarly, laws were introduced, in areas like employment and baby farming, to protect children who were victims of crime, and attitudes towards controversial matters such as infanticide and concealment of birth changed during this period.
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