Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 43, Issue 4–5, pp 263–287 | Cite as

Child sexual abuse: Purity and danger in an age of anxiety

  • John PrattEmail author


This paper examines the emergence and development of child sexual abuse (CSA) as a social problem in the main English-speaking societies in the post 1970s period. In contrast to prevailing explanations in moral panic and feminist literature, it illustrates how this problem has become knowable and understandable to us as a new kind of risk. This is the result of the positioning of child sexual abuse between the tensions, uncertainties and anxieties characteristic of ‘the age of anxiety’ on the one hand, and the cultural understandings that have come to be associated with purity and danger in this period on the other.


Sexual Abuse Social Problem Child Sexual Abuse International Relation Moral Panic 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of CriminologyVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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