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Crimes against morality

Carpenter, Belinda J. & Hayes, Sharon L. (2012) Crimes against morality. In Hayes, Hennessey & Prenzler, Tim (Eds.) An Introduction to Crime and Criminology (3rd ed.). Pearson Australia, Sydney NSW, pp. 141-154.

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Abstract

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 in some cases they are 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 nexus between sex, crime and morality, especially with regard to the issue of prostitution. Second, we examine the relationship between public and private morality and how this dis¬tinction regulates licit and illicit sex in our society through the example of homosexuality. Finally we discuss the notion of sex as harm through the example of pornography.

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ID Code: 53540
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: homosexuality, prostitution, sex crimes, harm, morality
ISBN: 9781442545243
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
Deposited On: 11 Sep 2012 22:24
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2013 10:28

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