QUT ePrints

Crimes against morality

Carpenter, Belinda J. & Hayes, Sharon L. (2007) Crimes against morality. In Hayes, Hennessey & Prenzler, Tim (Eds.) An Introduction to Crime (1st ed.). Pearson Education Australia, Sydney NSW, pp. 151-165.

[img] Accepted Version (PDF 182kB)
Administrators only | Request a copy from author


    The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the relationship between crime and morality, with a specific focus on crimes against morality. While we argue that all crimes have a general moral basis, condemned as ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ and proscribed by a society, there is a specific group of offences in modern democratic nations labelled crimes against morality. Included within this group are offences related to prostitution, pornography and homosexuality. What do these crimes have in common? Most clearly they tend to have a sexual basis and are often argued to do sexual harm, in both a moral and/or psychological sense, as well as physically. Conversely they are often argued to be victimless crimes, especially when the acts occur between consenting adults. Finally, they are considered essentially private acts but they often occur and, are regulated, in the public domain. Most importantly, each of these crimes against morality has only relatively recently (i.e. in the past 150 years) become identified and regulated by the state as a criminal offence.

    First, we discuss philosophically the issue of morality and its historical relationship to Christianity, especially with regard to the issue of prostitution. Second, we examine the relationship between public and private morality and how this distinction regulates licit and illicit sex in our society through the example of homosexuality. Finally we discuss the notion of the victimless crime through the example of pornography.

    Impact and interest:

    Citation countsare sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

    These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

    Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

    ID Code: 53536
    Item Type: Book Chapter
    Additional URLs:
    Keywords: sex, crime, morality, prostitution, homosexuality
    ISBN: 9780733974793
    Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > CRIMINOLOGY (160200)
    Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
    Current > Schools > School of Justice
    Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 Pearson Australia
    Deposited On: 12 Sep 2012 08:25
    Last Modified: 24 Oct 2012 14:52

    Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

    Repository Staff Only: item control page