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.

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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.

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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: 11 Sep 2012 22:25
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2015 12:02

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