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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2018

Child Protection in England, 1960–2000

Expertise, Experience, and Emotion

Palgrave Macmillan


  • Analyses ideas of ‘expertise’ and ‘experience’ in child protection policy and practice from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century in Britain

  • Situates children and parents as agents in changing, challenging, and subverting public and policy perceptions of child abuse and protection

  • Traces key shifts in the construction of child protection ‘experts’ and in definitions of child abuse

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in the History of Childhood (PSHC)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-ix
  2. Introduction

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 1-26Open Access
  3. Hearing Children’s Experiences in Public

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 45-75Open Access
  4. Inculcating Child Expertise in Schools and Homes

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 77-105Open Access
  5. Collective Action by Parents and Complicating Family Life

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 107-131Open Access
  6. Mothers, Media, and Individualism in Public Policy

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 133-159Open Access
  7. The Visibility of Survivors and Experience as Expertise

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 161-195Open Access
  8. Conclusion

    • Jennifer Crane
    Pages 197-209Open Access
  9. Back Matter

    Pages 211-215

About this book

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This open access book explores how children, parents, and survivors reshaped the politics of child protection in late twentieth-century England.  Activism by these groups, often manifested in small voluntary organisations, drew upon and constructed an expertise grounded in experience and emotion that supported, challenged, and subverted medical, social work, legal, and political authority.  New forms of experiential and emotional expertise were manifested in politics – through consultation, voting, and lobbying – but also in the reshaping of everyday life, and in new partnerships formed between voluntary spokespeople and media.  While becoming subjects of, and agents in, child protection politics over the late twentieth century, children, parents, and survivors also faced barriers to enacting change, and the book traces how long-standing structural hierarchies, particularly around gender and age, mediated and inhibited the realisation of experiential and emotional expertise.


  • Open Access
  • social work
  • child abuse
  • social policy
  • public enquiries
  • childhood studies


“This is an interesting and suggestive book, useful for historians of activism, childhood, emotion, welfare, media as well as contributing to historical accounts of privacy and confessional culture. Successfully mapping such a large and diverse sector is especially impressive given the eclectic and idiosyncratic nature of the field and ethical issues surrounding archival records on historical abuse.” (Chris Moores, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 56 (2), 2021)

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

    Jennifer Crane

About the author

Jennifer Crane is a Public Engagement Research Fellow on the Wellcome Trust-funded project, ‘The Cultural History of the NHS’, at the University of Warwick, UK.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 31.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)